The offense erupted for the Miami baseball team on Saturday in a 12-2 victory over Southern University in the NCAA Tournament. The Hurricanes win eliminated the Jaguars and advanced Miami to the consolation bracket title game on Sunday.
The Miami baseball team still has a lot of work left to do to advance to the Super Regionals next weekend. The Hurricanes play on Sunday at 3 PM ET against the loser of Central Michigan and host Mississippi State. The Bulldogs lead 6-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning as of 8:35 PM ET Saturday night.
Miami got off to a much needed good start against Southern on Saturday afternoon. The Hurricanes scored four runs in the top of the first inning and added eight in the fifth inning to put the game away. Southern broke the Hurricanes shutout with two in the ninth inning.
Saturday’s win was important for more than just advancing in the NCAA Tournament. The young Miami baseball teams bounced back in a big way after blowing a 4-0 lead in Friday night’s loss to Central Michigan. The Hurricanes have repeatedly let big leads slip away in 2019. It’s all a part of growing up.
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Sophomore first baseman Alex Toral was the hitting star on Saturday. Toral went 2-3 with four RBIs. Left fielder Gabe Rivera hit a three-run double in the eight-run fifth to put the game away. Five Miami pitchers combined to hold Southern to five hits and the two late runs. Miami head coach Gino DiMare liked his team’s resiliency.
“A good bounce-back for us…It seemed like we were just here last night and turned around for our guys to come back because it was a tough game for us to lose last night. We put ourselves in this position, but our guys came back and go déjà vu all over again. We scored runs early.
I felt we put them away in the fifth inning there and probably took the life out of them a little bit there with that big inning, which is what we need to do when we have big leads. We have to be able to put the pedal down, and our guys did that today.”
Evan McKendry was outstanding in four innings to not allow Southern to ever get in the game. McKendry threw just 37 pitches in four innings. He allowed one hit and stuck out three. McKendry should be ready to pitch if Miami can advance to a decisive game for the regional title on Monday night.
Brian VanBelle who was the ace of the Miami staff is likely to start for the Hurricanes on Sunday. afternoon. VanBelle is 9-2 with a 3.30 ERA this season. Central Michigan’s bullpen could be taxed after their late game against Mississippi State on Saturday night.