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Miami Beats Alabama in World Series

June 17, 1999

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ Lale Esquivel made sure Miami coach Jim Morris would have another shot at a national title.

Esquivel doubled off the center field wall in the fifth, driving in two runs as Miami beat Alabama 5-2 on Thursday in the College World Series.

The victory sends the top-seeded Hurricanes (49-13) to Saturday’s championship game. Alabama (53-16) was eliminated.

Miami returned to the title game for the first time since 1996, when LSU’s Warren Morris hit a two-out homer in the ninth to deny the Hurricanes, who are seeking their first national title since 1985.

Closer Michael Neu started the eighth for the Hurricanes, allowing a leadoff single by Jeremy Brown in the bottom of the ninth.

Neu got Kelley Gulledge and Brent Boyd on strikes, then walked Antonio Bostic before Derek Wigginton grounded into a force at second. Shortstop Bobby Hill fielded it and stepped on the bag ahead of Bostic, and Neu had his 15th save.

Right-hander Darryl Roque (5-1) got the victory but the Hurricanes won with timely hitting.

Greg Lovelady beat out an infield single leading off the fifth to end an 0-for-17 drought, then scored on Manny Crespo’s sacrifice fly scored Greg Lovelady, who had singled, to give the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead.

Esquivel followed with a shot to deep center that eluded Alabama’s G.W. Keller. It looked like it had a chance to go out but bounced off the fence near the 408-foot mark as Hill and Brian Seever scored.

When Esquivel reached second, he stood on the bag, pumping his fists.

As for the defense, Alabama threatened in the seventh but Miami second baseman Kris Clute made two great plays to shut down the Tide.

Boyd hit a leadoff double and, after Bostic flied out, went to third when Wiggington grounded up the middle. Clute backhanded the ball and threw to first for the second out.

Sam Bozanich hit a sharp liner into the hole, but Clute ran down the ball and threw him out at first.

The Tide went ahead 2-1 in the second when Gulledge doubled into right center, scoring Jeremy Brown. Gulledge scored on a sacrifice by Darren Wood.

Alabama got leadoff doubles by Bozanich in the third and Boyd in the seventh, but couldn’t produce runs either time. Alabama brought a 15-game winning streak to Omaha but lost both of its games to Miami.

Jonathan Blankenship (10-3) took the loss.

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