Miami can’t keep up with powerful Gators in a 10-2 CWS loss
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Florida foiled Miami yet again.
The 10-2 loss that knocked the Hurricanes out of the College World Series on Wednesday night was a continuation of Florida’s domination in the series between the Sunshine State rivals.
Miami was outscored 25-5 in two CWS losses to the Gators, with Saturday’s 15-3 margin the most lopsided postseason loss in program history.
Florida ended the Hurricanes’ season in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time since 2009. The ’Canes lost four of five against the Gators this season, and have dropped 21 of the last 26.
Florida (51-17) hit four home runs Wednesday, two in the first inning. By the seventh, when it was an eight-run game, it was apparent Miami (50-17) wouldn’t be able to come back.
“They beat us in every area,” Hurricanes coach Jim Morris said. “I said before that I thought Florida had one of their best clubs since I’ve been at Miami. They swing the bat and hit the ball hard, and they earned every run they got.”
Miami came to Omaha second nationally at 8.4 runs a game and sixth in batting at .311. The Hurricanes beat Arkansas 4-3 on Monday, but largely due to their struggles against coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s Gators, they managed only nine runs in their three CWS games, batted .224 and were 2 for 32 with runners in scoring position.
“I always say good pitching beats good hitting,” Morris said, “and their guys pitched good against us, hit their spots. We didn’t do what we had to do as a club offensively to swing the bat.”
Florida moves on to play Friday against a Virginia team that limited the Gators to two hits in a 1-0 win Monday. The Gators need to beat the Cavaliers twice to reach next week’s best-of-three finals.
The Gators scored in double digits for the fourth time in five games.
“We got to this point playing loose, but doing everything with a purpose,” Florida’s Harrison Bader said. “Sully’s biggest message was not having a hangover from that tough loss. We’re not going to score 10 runs every game. There might be games where we get shut out. At this point, you’re fighting for your life. Lay it out there every pitch every inning.”
Bader apparently took O’Sullivan’s words to heart. With the wind blowing out, Bader drove Miami starter Enrique Sosa’s fourth pitch of the game more than 400 feet to center for his 16th homer.
Four batters later, Buddy Reed sent Sosa’s high fastball out to right for a 3-0 lead. Richie Martin homered in the sixth and Peter Alonso in the seventh.
“Miami is our biggest rival, I think, besides Florida State,” Reed said. “You always want to jump ahead in the first inning, and it’s good to tack on runs. We did a great job, the whole offense did.”
Freshman Alex Faedo (6-1) and two relievers did their part, combining on a four-hitter and striking out 10. Faedo pitched into the sixth inning in his first appearance since May 31. He relied on his slider to strike out seven, but he struggled a bit with his fastball and issued a season-high four walks.
Before the new flat-seam ball was put into play this year, TD Ameritrade Park had yielded only 25 home runs in the 59 CWS games since its 2011 opening and only three each of the last two years.
In 213 total games at the stadium, Wednesday’s marked the first with more than two homers. Also, Bader and Alonso became the first two batters to hit balls out over center field.
“We jumped out with a three-spot with a couple home runs in the first, and I felt that kind of set the tone,” O’Sullivan said. “These elimination games, it’s important to build momentum early on. I was really pleased with how we responded after a tough loss Monday night. We were relaxed and came out with a purpose.”
Sosa (7-5) made it just one inning. Andrew Suarez, the Miami ace who threw 63 pitches in the loss to Florida on Saturday, held the Gators scoreless from the second through fourth innings before they padded their lead.
“We’re not a team that usually gets down on ourselves,” Miami’s Willie Abreu said. “We’re a pretty live and active group. But it hurts when they have a 10-spot on the board because it shuts down our game. We didn’t stop fighting. Unfortunately, it didn’t come out our way.”