Coral Gables Regional: Miami 8, Columbia 3

The Miami Hurricanes are one win away from hosting a Super Regional at Mark Light Field next weekend, by way of a convincing, 8-3 victory over the third-seeded Columbia Lions on Saturday night.

A Sunday night win over the afternoon’s Columbia / Florida International winner will earn the Canes their 28th regional title in program’s history and advancing to the next round for the first time since 2010.

Much like Friday night’s win over the Golden Panthers, Miami’s offense got off to a fast start against the Lions—tagging starting pitcher Kevin Roy for five runs and six hits over 3.2 innings. From there, Mike Weisman lasted just as long—giving up five hits and charged with two runs, while striking out four to Roy’s one.

Thomas Woodrey lasted 5.2 innings for the Hurricanes, giving up six hits and three runs before Danny Garcia, Cooper Hammond and Michael Mediavilla threw three innings of combined, three-hit, no-run baseball with two strikeouts. Bryan Garcia retired the final batter of the ninth, forcing a pop-up with runners on the corners.

The Canes got on the board early with a four-run second inning after David Thompson singled, Garrett Kennedy walked, Brandon Lopez singled and Willie Abreu brought two home with a double to left field.

Miami got two more when Jacob Heyward connected on an opposite field RBI singled, followed by a fielder’s choice RBI from Christopher Barr, spotting the Canes four.

Columbia picked up a run in the bottom of the second, by way of a Gus Collins home run, but Miami extended the lead in the fourth with two more. Walks to Abreu, Ricky Eusebio and George Iskenderian loaded the bases—effectively ending Roy’s evening and bringing in lefty Mike Weisman to face lefty Zack Collins, who cracked a two-RBI single into right, extending the lead to, 6-1.

The Lions fought back, picking up two in the bottom of the fourth bay way of a two-run shot by David Vandercook, but 6-3 was as close as Columbia would make it, with Miami adding some late insurance runs—an RBI double from Iskenderian in the sixth and an RBI single from Collins in the eight.

Miami had 12 hits on the night to Columbia’s nine, but found a way to do more when it counted. The lone knock on the effort; stranding 11 on base, while the Lions left five out there. Leaving so many potential runs out there didn’t hurt against the likes of a Columbia; but in the Super Regionals or Omaha it could spell trouble.

Columbia will have a quick turnaround, taking on fourth-seeded Florida International on Sunday afternoon. The Panthers fell to the Hurricanes on Friday night by a score of, 6-2 before rallying in Saturday morning’s loser-bracket game against No. 2 East Carolina, with two late runs in a 2-0 victory.

The loser of the Columbia / FIU showdown will be bounced from the Coral Gables Regional, with the winner taking on Miami at 7:00 p.m. ET on Sunday night. Should the Canes prevail, they are regional champs. A loss will have both teams facing off Monday night at 7:00 p.m. in a winner-take-all showdown.