June 12, 2010
Scores, Schedules & Capsules
Hurricanes, head to Omaha
By Christina De Nicola
Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
For the second consecutive year, Florida eliminated Miami in the
postseason – this time in the Gainesville Super Regional – in a
4-3 victory in 10 innings Saturday night at McKethan Stadium.
The Gators (47-15) capitalized on seven errors
and took the lead on an RBI double to right by Austin Maddox
(right) off Hurricanes closer Daniel Miranda (5-3). The SEC
Freshman of the Year drove in Nolan Fontana, who reached on a
two-base error by right fielder Chris Pelaez, for his 71st RBI
of the season.
“I’ve been seeing the ball well all weekend and I
felt like I had some good at-bats, but I just couldn’t get the
ball to fall,” Maddox said. “But then I got a good pitch to hit,
and I put a good swing on it. I came up big time, and I’ll
remember that hit for the rest of my life.”
It looked like Miami (43-20) might live to see
another day when Nathan Melendres hit an opposite field
three-run homer to right in the seventh off closer Kevin
Chapman. Frankie Ratcliff had an infield single to second to
lead off the inning. After Scott Lawson flied out to center and
Yasmani Grandal popped out to short, Pelaez’s single to right
was misplayed by Daniel Pigott to put runners at the corners
with two outs.
“I just thought to stay relaxed, throw my hands
and [let] things happen,” Melendres said. “It definitely was a
Hurricanes starter Chris Hernandez, pitching on
three days’ rest, went 8.1 remarkable innings, which included a
three-pitch fourth, and allowed three runs (one earned). He had
pitched 12 scoreless innings to start the postseason over a span
of three appearances.
Without getting a ball out of the outfield, the
Gators put runners on the corners with no outs for a prime
scoring opportunity in the fifth. Matt den Dekker, who reached
base four times, picked up the Gators’ first hit on a drag bunt
to start the inning. Mike Zunino put down a bunt, but
Hernandez’s throw to second for the lead runner went into center
field. Stephen Perez was called for interference at second when
Melendres’ throw got den Dekker out at third.
Brian Johnson then drove in his first of two runs
on the night with a sacrifice fly to center to give Florida a
1-0 lead. He collected his second RBI in the seventh to make it
Freshman righty Hudson Randall was just as good
as Hernandez after giving up two runs on three hits over 6.2
innings. He faced the minimum through six innings thanks to two
“AP [Alex Panteliodis] had a great performance
last night, and I was coming in trying to give our team the same
chance we had yesterday,” Randall said. “Attack the zone, be
aggressive, throw low strikes and get ground ball outs.”
Lawson, the second batter of the game, was
Miami’s only hit through six innings. A Hurricanes base runner
reached second just once over the first six innings.
Trailing 3-2 with three outs remaining, the
Gators tied the game at 3 on a hit, a walk and two errors.
Tucker (left) led off with a single, Maddox flew out to center
and den Dekker reached on a walk.
Miranda took over for Hernandez with runners at
first and second and got Zunino to ground to third on the ninth
pitch of the at-bat, but Michael Broad committed his second
error of the game, his third of the Super Regional.
Broad was starting for just the third time at
third base with Harold Martinez, the Hurricanes’ cleanup hitter
who leads the team with 21 home runs, missing the game with a
leg injury that hospitalized him. Miranda struck out Johnson
with the bases loaded, but Perez muffed a ball at short to score
the tying run.
“When you make seven errors, you’re not going to
win against a great club. Florida is an outstanding club,” Miami
head coach Jim Morris said. “It’s frustrating all game to watch
the defense. It’s something that the second half of the season
was our strength.”
The Gators improved to 40-0 when leading after
six innings. Miami scored just five runs during the Super
Regional, on two homers – a two-run shot by Grandal on Friday
and Melendres’ three-run long ball tonight.
Steven Rodriguez, the third reliever on the night
for the Gators, improved to 2-0 after pitching one scoreless
inning. Greg Larson collected his third save by recording the
final two outs in the 10th.
Florida reaches Omaha for the first time since
2005 when it beat another rival, the Florida State Seminoles, in
two games in Gainesville.
“The thing we’ve been able to do all year long is
play good defense and pitch,” Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan
said. “When you don’t walk people and you don’t make errors,
you’ve got a chance to be in every game and that’s what happened
(photos by Jimmy Jones)