Morris' milestone victory highlight in Miami's big weekend
Mar. 21, 2016
It was a big weekend for Miami, and not just because the men's basketball team reached the Sweet 16. Baseball coach Jim Morris recorded his 1,500th career victory on a walkoff grand slam, and the Hurricanes took two of three from Louisville to hand the Cardinals their first ACC series loss since they joined the conference in 2015.
Miami (16-4, 4-2) has won 11 of 13 and is looking every bit the part of a team capable of winning a third straight Coastal Division title.
Willie Abreu's grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning in Coral Gables on Friday was his second home run of the game, finished his seven-RBI night in an 8-4 victory and produced the milestone for Morris.
"It's a great way to get your 1,500th — such an exciting game against an outstanding club like Louisville, with a walkoff. Just a great situation. I'll remember the 1,500th, without question," Morris said.
The 66-year-old Morris starts the week 1,501-653-4 in a head coaching career that started at Georgia Tech in 1982. He's 997-409-3 in 23 years at Miami, where he's led the Hurricanes to 12 of their 24 all-time College World Series appearances and won national titles in 1999 and 2001. He is the sixth coach in Division I baseball history to win 1,500 games.
The Canes beat Louisville 6-3 on Saturday before losing 4-3 Sunday in a game in which they went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position, struck out 11 times and committed three errors.
Zack Collins, batting a team-leading .421, is on pace to match his numbers from last season, when he hit 15 homers and drove in 70 runs. The players who took over for three everyday players who signed pro contracts are more than holding their own. Second baseman Johnny Ruiz is batting .366, center fielder and leadoff man Carl Chester is batting .342 and third baseman Edgar Michelangeli, who came into the season as a .216 career hitter, is batting .297.
The Canes' all-lefty weekend rotation of Thomas Woodrey, Michael Mediavilla and Danny Garcia is a combined 9-4 with a 3.30 ERA and third-year closer Bryan Garcia has seven saves.
Major tests are coming, with Atlantic Division co-leader Clemson visiting this weekend and Coastal-leading North Carolina the next.
A look around the country:
15 AND COUNTING: Top-ranked Florida extended its nation-leading win streak to 15 games with a sweep of Missouri. Gators pitchers struck out 44, the most in a three-game weekend series in coach Kevin O'Sullivan's nine years. The previous high had been 31 against Auburn in 2009. The Gators (21-1, 3-0) have won 23 straight at home, one off the school record.
IT'S BEEN A WHILE: Alabama took two of three against LSU for its first series win in Baton Rouge since 1986, and Mississippi State won two of three against Vanderbilt for its first series win in Nashville since 2002. Alabama was on the verge of a sweep, leading 4-1 in the eighth inning Sunday, but LSU scored six runs in the bottom half and won 7-5. Mississippi State came from behind twice to win 5-4 on Saturday, with all of its runs coming with two outs.
ALL GOOD THINGS: A pair of 12-game win streaks came to an end. Mississippi lost 3-2 at Tennessee on Friday, with the Volunteers scoring the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. BYU, whose 18-2 start is the best in program history, lost 10-8 to Pacific at home on Sunday.
BEAVERS BITE DEVILS: Oregon State notched one of the most impressive sweeps of the weekend, taking three against an Arizona State team that had started 13-3. Travis Eckert allowed two hits and a run in eight innings in Sunday's 7-3 win. He's allowed eight hits and five runs and struck out 17 over his last 22 1-3 innings.
WALKS APLENTY: Nebraska pitchers tied a national season high by walking 17 Wichita State batters in a 17-5 loss on Friday. Nebraska hadn't issued so many walks since at least 1999, according to school research. The Cornhuskers, who matched Hawaii's 17 walks against New Mexico on Feb. 21, came back to win two straight over the Shockers.