Miami 15, Alabama 1
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ Miami’s Pat Burrell is experiencing a lot in his first year out of high school, including the best hitting season of his life against the best pitching he’s seen.
On Sunday, the Hurricanes third baseman improved his chances of becoming the first freshman to win the NCAA Division I batting title in Miami’s 15-1 beating of top-seeded Alabama in the second round of the College World Series.
The win moves the fifth-seeded Hurricanes (49-13) to Wednesday’s Bracket One semifinals against Tuesday’s survivor of Alabama (50-18) and Clemson (50-16), 8-5 winners in 10 innings Sunday night over Oklahoma State.
Burrell had a two-run homer and an RBI single in a 10-run third inning, and went 3-for-3 to raise his average to .486.
But whatever pressure comes with being the nation’s leading hitter doesn’t seem to bother him a bit. Actually, he was more worried about a passing storm than missing a hit opportunity.
``The rain was coming down hard and we weren’t sure we’d get to finish the game,″ he said.
Alabama wishes it would have rained harder. Everything Crimson Tide pitchers threw toward the plate was coming off Hurricane bats hard.
``Alabama has an outstanding club and good pitching,″ said Miami coach Jim Morris. ``But everything we seemed to hit had eyes on it. Our hitters swung the bat well and hit the ball hard.″
Burrell hit his 22nd homer, doubled and walked twice. He rebounded from going 0-for-2 with three walks in Miami’s 7-3 win over Clemson on Friday. In the NCAA batting race, he has a 21-percentage point lead over Ethan Barlow of Vermont.
Miami jumped on Joel Colgrove (10-3) with three runs in the second on Rick Saggese’s 13th homer, a three-run shot.
An inning later, Miami used 15 batters and 53 minutes in its 10-run outburst. Rudy Gomez led off with a double and Burrell followed with a homer over the left-center field wall. Gomez and Eddie Rivero hit two-run singles on their second at-bats.
The Hurricanes ended the inning with 11 hits, one walk, one throwing error and 10 runs, which was one short of the CWS record of 11 in an inning shared by several teams.
``Alabama’s pitcher had great stuff,″ said Gomez. ``He threw the ball well but we just hit it. What we didn’t hit hard seemed to find a hole.″
Burrell also doubled and scored on Rivero’s groundout in the fifth, and T.R. Marcinczyk hit his 11th homer with nobody on for Miami in the eighth.
``I got the ball up. I didn’t throw well and they hit well. They were a good-hitting team,″ Colgrove said. ``I knew they were going to be tough when they starting hitting the changeup.″
The Tide’s lone run off Miami starter J.D. Arteaga came on Joe Caruso’s sacrifice fly in the top of the third. But by the end of the inning, one of the nation’s top come-from-behind teams found itself in a 13-1 hole. Alabama has won 17 times on rallies this season.
``It’s one of those things that happen in baseball if you stick around long enough,″ said Alabama coach Jim Wells. ``The thing I was most disappointed with is we didn’t make a run at them offensively, to at least make it 15-7 or 15-8.″
Arteaga (12-1) didn’t allow more than one baserunner in any inning but the third. He left the game after seven, allowing five hits, three walks and had three strikeouts.
``It’s always good to get run support, but that long, it’s tough to stay focused,″ Arteaga said of coming back after the big third inning. ``After a big inning, it’s important not to let them score runs.″
Allan Westfall worked the final two no-hit innings for the Hurricanes.