Miami 10, Florida 6
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) _ The Miami Hurricanes hit four homers, including a hotly contested shot by Alex Miranda that tied the game, and went on to defeat Florida 10-6 Monday to return to the College World Series.
The top-seed Hurricanes (48-12), swept through the Atlantic I Regional, winning four games by a combined 42-14 score. Miami has hosted 12 regionals, winning 10, and is headed for its 13th College World Series berth in pursuit of its third national title.″
″I never got to go to Omaha as head coach,″ said Miami’s first-year coach Jim Morris. ″With the tradition here, we’re expected to go. The players feel it’s supposed to happen and then they make it happen.″
Known for stellar defense and stingy pitching, Miami hit 12 homers, with four in the finale, including a three-run homer by Michael Torti.
Florida took a 3-1 lead on Chris Kokinda’s two-run homer in the fourth and an RBI double by hot-hitting James Eidam in the fifth. Eidam, a unanimous all- tournament selection, was 7-for-13 with three homers and 10 RBI in Florida’s four games.
Florida’s senior ace Rob Bonanno (8-4), pitching on two days of rest, took a 4-3 lead into the seventh when Miranda lifted a lazy fly ball down the left- field line that according to third-base umpire Randy Christal, ″hooked around the foul pole into a palm tree″ for a game-tying homer.
″I got hot at the right time,″ said Miranda, voted the regional MVP, for hitting 7-of-13, with three homers and six RBI. ″It’s the end of the year that counts.″
Miranda batted .224 with two homers in the regular season.
A heated argument ensued after the homer call, and several fans and Florida relievers questioned the decision.
″Fair or foul, that home run in itself changed the momentum,″ Florida coach Joe Arnold said.
Arnold said he would have brought in his stopper Danny Wheeler in the eighth inning if Florida had held the lead, but stayed with a tiring Bonanno, who gave up a single to Danny Buxbaum, a walk to Alex Cora, and the decisive three-run homer to Torti that slammed off the top of the scoreboard.
Miami led 7-4, and the combination of relievers Jay Tessmer (6-2) and Danny Graves, who registered his school-record 21st save, closed the door on the Gators’ season.
″It made it sweeter beating Florida,″ Graves said. ″I might not be back next year so I’m not worrying about the save. We’re going to the big dance.″