June 15, 2008
Hurricanes fail to close for first time
By Ben Trittipoe
OMAHA, Neb. – When Yonder Alonso hit a solo home
run to give Miami a 4-3 lead over Georgia in the bottom of the
seventh inning Saturday in Game 2 of the 2008 College World
Series, most Hurricanes fans could be forgiven if they felt the
game was all but over.
After all, Miami carried a 44-1 record when
leading after seven innings into the weekend. And, when leading
after eight innings, the Hurricanes were 45-0.
So when right-handed closer Carlos Gutierrez –
with a team-high 13 saves this season – came on to start the
ninth inning with that same 4-3 lead, the win was in the bag,
For the first time this season, the Hurricanes
came unglued in the ninth inning and it cost them a 7-4 defeat
at the hands of Georgia at Rosenblatt Stadium.
Bulldog catcher Bryce Massanari led off the top
of the ninth with a single and was replaced by pinch-runner Adam
Fuller. Matt Cerione sacrificed Fuller to second, and it
appeared Gutierrez had recorded the second out with a strikeout
of designated hitter Robbie O’Bryan.
But as O’Bryan swung through the low pitch, Miami
catcher Yasmani Grandal had the ball skip under his glove for a
wild pitch. O’Bryan scrambled to first base, with Fuller moving
up to third.
“We can’t have balls get away like that,” Miami
head coach Jim Morris said. “Yasmani’s done a good job behind
the plate all year, and he will be there when we come back
With the Hurricanes’ confidence shaken a bit,
Georgia’s Lyle Allen singled to left field to tie the score.
Then, the wheels came off for Miami as Gutierrez fielded a
grounder back to the mound by David Thoms and threw it down the
right-field line for an error. By the time the ball arrived back
in the infield, two runs had scored and Thoms stood at third,
from where he scored the final run on a single by Ryan Peisel.
“We’ve got to close games out at the end,” Morris
said. “We’ve done it all year. We had them where we wanted them
with a guy who’s done it all year. But if it hadn’t been for
Carlos Gutierrez, we wouldn’t be in the position we are right