WOW. That’s all I can say, for several reasons. First of all, great win for the Canes. Texas A&M came to A-Rod Park as a team that had a chance – and still does – to win the regional. They play good, tough, baseball in the Big XII. The other part of the “WOW” was the two-plus hour rain delay that brought lightning, thunder and a downpour to the Gables. It turned what was already a blazing hot day in to a very wet, humid night. It’s not a surprise though.
I had lunch with a former co-worker last weekend and I told him, “you know there are going to be all sorts of rain delays next weekend.” Yesterday a lightning delay, today the rain came with the lightning. It wouldn’t be a post-season in the Gables with out the weather wreaking havoc on the schedule. I’m glad they got the game in though. If the rain continued, they would have had to play the rest of the game Sunday morning. Yuck. But not a surprise. On to the game.
For Miami to come out and jump on top of them with ten runs in the first four innings was huge. While the offense, especially the 3 HR night for Scott Lawson, will look most impressive in the stats sheet, Chris Hernandez’ performance can’t go overlooked. After a mistake or two in the first, he settled down and ploughed through the A&M lineup. Chris went 6 innings, gave up 3 hits, walked only 1 batter, while striking out 7. He through 93 pitches. That’s a pretty freaking good outing against a pretty good club when a lot is on the line.
Scott Lawson was huge tonight. His 3 HR, with 6 RBI, accounted for almost half of the Canes offense. That’s pretty impressive. What made it more special was that Lawson grew up about 2-3 hours from the A&M campus. He knows a bunch of the guys on the Aggies and I’m sure the Lonestar State will be talking about Lawson’s performance for a while. Lawson received a standing ovation after his third homer and he came out of the duggout for a curtain call. After the game he talked about the love the Canes’ faithful showed him. “It was probably the best feeling I’ve had at Miami,” Lawson said. . “I was really touched. I liked that a lot. That was pretty cool.”
Here’s a note for you. The last time a Cane went yard 3 times during a game was back in 2008 when Blake Tekotte did it against Virgina Tech. The last Cane to hit three home runs in a regional was Kevin Brown who did it back in 2001, the same year Miami won their outh title.
Also deserving credit tonight, Canes short stop Stephen Perez. The freshman, out of Gulliver Prep, came through with a huge HR and had 4 rbi on a night when he went 3-for-5 at the plate.
So Miami is back tomorrow facing the winner of tomorrow’s noon game between Texas A&M and Dartmouth. I’m sure Dartmouth was rooting for Miami to extend the game even more after the 2 plus hour rain delay. Coach Morris said after tonight’s game he’s “89% sure” that senior David Gutierrez will go tomorrow. Gutierrez had a rough outing in Greensboro at the ACC tournament. He got hit around by Virginia. In 3 innings of work, he gave up 8 hits, 4 earned runs, and walked 2. Davi, as he’s known around the park, has been around a while. He’s pitched in some pretty big spots, and hopefully will bring his best stuff tomorrow afternoon.
Miami’s in the driver’s seat in this regional. Either Dartmouth or Texas A&M would have to beat Miami twice. That’s a pretty tough feat in the Gables. Coach Morris seemed cautious when I asked him about that in the post game presser. “It feels great, but I also know you can win it both ways, so you better be ready to play,” Morris said. “We have won it both ways to advance to the next round of the tournament, and I’m sure Texas A&M will come out ready to play, and that will be their goal. But it definitely gives us an advantage because somebody has to beat us twice. They have to win three games – whichever one of those teams it is, and we have to win once. So, there’s definitely an advantage for us right now, but we don’t want it to go to that second game. If it goes to that second game for us, then that momentum changes.”
So on to a potential championship Sunday at A-Rod Park. A win tomorrow and it’s on to Gainesville next weekend. A loss means we have Monday baseball, but we won’t discuss that. I’ll be covering the Canes game tomorrow as well. If you want to follow all the action, feel free to follow my tweets on Twitter @beastshow. Otherwise, I shall see you at the park tomorrow.