For those who just saw the box score, it probably looks like another late collapse. Miami led Louisville, 1-0 in the top of the seventh inning, gave up six runs in the bottom, picked up two in the top of the eighth and eventually fell, 6-4 in a season-defining game.
The Hurricanes entered the Louisville Regional as a two-seed, took out third-seeded Oklahoma State on Friday, 7-0, and looked like it might upset the top-ranked Cardinals before the wheels fell off.
Bryan Radziewski got the start for UM and pitched brilliantly, throwing six stellar innings before unraveling in the seventh. Radziewski struck out eight, made some great defensive plays, threw 106 pitches and gave up four hits, before plunking a few batters and walking in two runs, the latter happening after Miami’s defense was unable to bail him out in a disastrous inning.
To the Canes credit, there was some fight in the top of the eight, as Miami plated three runs and rallied in a way it hadn’t when down and out much of the season, but in the ninth could do no more.
This was the third straight game head coach Jim Morris was sidelined due to pneumonia, turning things over to veteran assistant Gino DiMare, who has gotten the most out of this team since the final game of the ACC Tournament. Miami opened with a 10-0 loss to North Carolina in Durham last week, followed by a 7-1 loss to North Carolina State. Morris was then hospitalized in route to the stadium on Saturday, yet the Canes rallied behind DiMare and stomped Clemson, 7-1.
Miami earned a berth in the Louisville Regional, taking out third-seeded Oklahoma State, 7-0, earning the showdown with one-seed Louisville in the winner’s bracket game. At one point UM had played a school-record twenty-three straight innings without giving up a run, outscoring the competition, 15-0 before a disastrous bottom of the seventh against the Cardinals.
Miami will face Oklahoma State in the loser’s bracket on Sunday, in a do-or-die match up. A win and the Hurricanes will have to beat the host Cardinals twice to earn a Super Regional berth, the first game coming hours after a would-be win over the Cowboys. A loss, and a troublesome season is in the books.
Still, kudos to Miami for showing up against a very good Louisville team and playing some solid baseball since Morris’ illness. Truth be told, many would’ve expected this team to roll over, but DiMare has found a way to reach some players who seemed unreachable the majority of the season.
This will certainly spark some off-season chatter, but that can remain on hold for at least another day. For now, let’s see if the Hurricanes can get one more.