Huskers Heading to Omaha
Lincoln Super Regional Game 2 -- Nebraska 6, Miami 3
Box Score | Notes | Quotes | Photos
Lincoln - No. 3 national seed Nebraska blasted three home runs and used stifling pitching and defense to power past Miami for a 6-3 victory to sweep the Hurricanes in two straight games in the best-of-three Super Regional series. The Big 12 champion Huskers advanced to their third College World Series in the last five years Saturday in front of a school-record crowd of 8,711 at Hawks Field.
Nebraska, which extended its winning streak to 10 straight games and improved to a perfect 5-0 in 2005 NCAA Tournament play, won a Super Regional title at home for the third time in school history. The Huskers, who became the first of eight teams to punch their ticket to Omaha, will open the College World Series on Friday, June 17 at Rosenblatt Stadium. Nebraska increased its school-record win total and improved mark to 56-13 this season. The Huskers also swept Miami in the first-ever meetings between the two schools in baseball.
The Huskers will face Arizona State on Friday at the CWS. The Sun Devils earned their 19th College World Series bid by defeating Cal State Fullerton 9-8 in the third game of their Super Regional series at Fullerton. The game time between the Huskers and Sun Devils has not been announced.
All-American Alex Gordon started the Husker power surge by driving the second pitch he saw from Miami starter Brandon Camardese over the 403 sign in left center field for his team-leading 19th home run of the season to give Nebraska a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
The Huskers then struck for three more runs and a commanding 5-0 lead in the third inning, as Joe Simokaitis led off the frame with a solo home run, his third of the season, before Ryan Bohanan's two-run double nearly put the game away for the Huskers. Bohanan added a solo homer, the first of his career, to lead off the eighth inning to provide an insurance run.
Simokaitis, a 10th-round pick of the Chicago Cubs earlier this week in the Major League Baseball Draft, starred for the Huskers in both wins over Miami. The senior shortstop went 2-for-4 with two runs scored on Saturday, after going 2-for-3 with one run, an RBI a sacrifice and his 17th stolen base of the year in the Huskers' 3-1 win over the Canes on Friday afternoon.
Nebraska starter Johnny Dorn kept Miami in check for 6.1 innings, allowing just one run on five hits to pick up his team-best 12th win of the season. Dorn had some strong defense behind him all day, as he allowed just six Hurricanes to reach base, including John Jay, who knocked in his first home run of the season to cut the lead to 5-1 in the fourth.
Bohanan came back with the first home run of his career in the eighth inning, before Miami scored a pair of late runs off NU reliever Brian Duensing. Husker closer Brett Jensen came in with one out in the eighth and shut down the Canes in order to pick up his school-record 15th save of the season.
Nebraska's defense, which did not commit an error in either of its games against Miami in the Super Regional, provided perfect support to a dominant pitching staff that surrendered just four combined runs in two games to a Hurricane team that entered the Super Regional series averaging 8.1 runs per game.
The Huskers' trio of home runs, errorless defense and stellar pitching performances helped NU overcome the absence of Gordon for the game's final three innings. The two-time Big 12 Player of the Year was ejected by the third base umpire with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Miami's Danny Figueroa was called safe trying to advance from second to third on a ground ball to Gordon, who attempted to tag Figueroa and then threw to first base in time to get the Hurricanes' Ryan Braun for what appeared to be the final out of the inning.
While Nebraska Coach Mike Anderson discussed the call with the third base umpire, Gordon was ejected from the game. Jake Opitz replaced Gordon and drew a pair of walks in his only plate appearances of the game to help the Huskers.
Without Gordon at the corner, Nebraska's defense remained perfect and Jensen stamped an exclamation point on the win by striking out Miami's Walter Diaz looking to cap a perfect 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth inning to spark an enthusiastic Husker celebration on the field.