Hello Eye On The U Crew. I'll be at The Light all day today blogging live from both games. I can only update the blog once after each inning according to the NCAA rules. But I'll talk with you guys below if you like. We can talk about whatever you like. I'll try to answer questions as the day moves along.
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OK, Missouri took care of business against Mississippi 7-0 behind a three-hit shutout from Aaron Crow. Now, your No. 1-ranked Canes are scheduled to start on time at 4 p.m. I'll be here to blog throughout.
NO. 1 MIAMI (47-8) vs. No. 4 BETHUNE-COOKMAN (36-20)
- Bethune-Cookman has won three consecutive MEAC titles, but is still looking for more postseason wins. The Wildcats are 1-16 all-time in regional play with their lone victory coming against FIU in 2002. Today they'll send right-hander Hiram Burgos (9-1) to the mound. Burgos, who has the nation's second lowest ERA (1.20), suffered his only loss against UM on March 26.
1st inning - Miami 0, Bethune-Cookman 0: Enrique Garcia got the first two batters he face to line out to the outfield before walking Jose Lozada, who stole second. But Garcia got out of the jam by striking out Osvaldo Torres looking. Burgos then retired the Canes in order.
2nd inning - Bethune-Cookman 2, Miami 0: The Wildcats didn't come to South Florida to stay close with anybody -- that's for sure. Bethune-Cookman plates two runs, the first on a fielder's choice and then a two-out RBI single by No. 9-hitter Patrick Jones. The inning ends when right fielder Dennis Raben saves Yonder Alonso (who made an error) by throwing out a runner at second. Bethune-Cookman had the third run of the inning heading for home when shortstop Ryan Jackson applied the tag. Burgos, meanwhile, continues to roll along in the bottom half of the inning. He gets Mark Sobolewski to ground out to the mound, Jackson to ground out to second and Dennis Raben swinging.
3rd inning - Miami 4, Bethune-Cookman 2: Garcia and the Canes get a much needed 1-2-3 inning, retiring the Wildcats' 2-3-4 hitters in order. But Osvaldo Torres took him to the warning track on the last out. And then... the bottom of the order gets it started for the Canes. After back-to-back singles by Dave DiNatale and Adan Severino, the Wildcats get sloppy on defense. A botched ball by centerfielder Jose Ortiz on Severino's single allows DiNatale to run for third. The relay by shortstop Lozada then skirts by third baseman Emmanuel Castro and into the Canes' dugout, allowing DiNatale to score and Severino to reach third. Yasmani Grandal then brings Severino home on a groundout to short to tie the score at 2. Blake Tekotte keeps the rally going with a double down the right field line. Jemile Weeks appeared to have another one, but was robbed on a great running catch by Wildcats right fielder Neal Jones on the warning track. After an intentional walk to Yonder Alonso (his 65th walk of the season), Alonso stole second before Mark Sobolewski singled passed a diving Lozada for a two-run single.
4th inning - Miami 4, Bethune-Cookman 2: The Wildcats get Emmanuel Castro to reach base on a bunt single. He advances to second, but gets stranded when Garcia fields a bunt and throws Brooks out to end the top half of the inning. Miami got Dave DiNatale on base when he was hit by a pitch and two fielder's choices later Adan Severino was standing on second. But Burgos was able to get Tekotte to ground out to short to end the inning.
5th inning - Miami 4, Bethune-Cookman 2: Patrick Jones opened with a bunt single for Bethune and advanced to second on a passed ball. But Garcia struckout the next two batters and Lozada ended the inning with a groundout to shortstop. Yonder Alonso started the bottom half of the fifth with a one-out single to right. After Ryan Jackson walked, Torres made a nice grab down the first baseline on a shot by Raben to end the Canes' threat.
6th inning - Miami 5, Bethune-Cookman 4: The Wildcats had runners on first and second with two outs and Brooks at the plate with a 3-2 count when Mark Brooks laced a standup triple to the right-center field wall. UM coach Jim Morris went to the mound and took Garcia out and replaced him with Kyle Bellamy. But Bellamy gets out of the jam when he fields a bunt back to the mound and throws Jones out at first base. Miami gets a run back in the bottom half of the inning off Lamar Thomas' younger brother Eric Thomas (9-0, 2.04 ERA). Dave DiNatale opens the inning with a single to center and then gets brought home following a sacrifice bunt and a Yasmani Grandal RBI single to left. Miami loads the bases on Thomas with two outs, but he gets out of the jam, rallying from a 3-1 count to strike out Mark Sobolewski.
7th inning - Miami 7, Bethune-Cookman 4: Jose Ortiz opens the seventh with a leadoff single to center for the Wildcats and reaches second on a sacrifice bunt. After Lozada flew out to left for the second out, Ortiz reached third on a wild pitch by Bellamy. Following a walk to Torres, pitching coach J.D. Arteaga goes to the mound to talk to Bellamy. Whatever he said works as the Canes get out of trouble when Bellamy gets Neal Jones to swing and miss at strike three.
- The bottom of the seventh opens with Ryan Jackson taking a fastball in the back. After Dennis Raben chases a pitch outside for strike three, a ball gets away from B-C catcher Drew Clark allowing Jackson to advance to second base. Two pitches later, Dave DiNatale rallies from a 1-2 count to draw a walk. After pitching one ball to Grandal, B-C coach Mervyl Menendez takes Thomas out of the game and replaces him with left-hander Christopher Chapman (2-3, 5.34 ERA). Grandal switches sides to bat right-handed and strikes out looking. And then... Mark Light Stadium finally exhales. Blake Tekotte bloops a two-run single to give the Canes a 7-4 lead and some breathing room. The inning ends when Jemile Weeks (0-5) pops out to first.
8th inning - Miami 7, Bethune-Cookman 4: The Wildcats open the eight with a leadoff single by Emmanuel Castro, but leave him stranded at first after Kyle Bellamy strikes out the next two batters before Jones singles up the middle. But the inning ends with a groundout to second. Miami puts a runner on and moves him to third with two outs. But Raben can't beat B-C's first baseman to the bag on a groundout and the inning goes by scoreless.
9th inning - Miami 7, Bethune-Cookman 4: The Canes end the day with a victory as Carlos Gutierrez picked up his 12th save of the season by facing only four batters. Miami (48-8) will play Missouri (39-19) tomorrow at 4 p.m.
No. 2 MISSOURI (38-19) vs. No. 3 MISSISSISSIPPI (37-24)
- Mississippi at one point this season was 9-0 and ranked No. 2 in the country behind UM. Then, they collapsed before rallying to qualify for the SEC tournament and finishing runner-up to LSU.
- Missouri is making its sixth straight regional appearance after finishing fourth in the Big 12 conference and going 1-2 in the conference tournament.
1st inning - Missouri 1, Ole Miss 0: Crow mowed down the Rebels in order 1-2-3 in the top of the first. The Tigers then had their first three base runners reach on a walk, single and hit by pitch before Jacob Priday bounced into a fielder's choice to drive in Greg Foglia in with the game's first run. But Mississippi starter Lance Lynn battled back to get out of the inning, striking out Steve Gray looking before Jonah Schmidt bounced out to short to end the inning.
2nd inning - Missouri 1, Ole Miss 0: Another 1-2-3 inning for Crow in the top of the second. He's got two strikeouts now. In the bottom of the inning, Lynn settles down and retires the Tigers in order. We're going to the third inning.
3rd inning - Missouri 1, Ole Miss 0: Crow finally allows a runner to reach base on a walk, but quickly retires the next three hitters. Ryan Lollis opens the bottom of the inning with a single (he's the only player on either team with a hit) and steals second with two outs. But Lynn gets out of trouble when he strikes out Trevor Coleman looking to end the inning.
4th inning - Missouri 1, Ole Miss 0: Mississippi cleanup hitter Cody Overbeck breaks up Crow's no-hit bid with two outs when he reaches on a slow dribbler to second base. Mississippi doesn't do anything with the base runner, though. Lynn has now retired six in a row -- four are strikeouts.
5th inning - Missouri 4, Ole Miss 0: Second baseman Zach Miller reaches on a 1-out single to right, but gets stranded. This bottom of the inning is where the action takes place. After No. 9 hitter Kyle Mach leads off with a bloop double (Ole Miss shortstop Tim Ferguson misplayed a Texas leaguer), Missouri puts runners on first and third when Lollis picks up his third hit of the day with a single to left. Aaron Senne then brings both of those players in with a double to right-center field. One pitch later, Priday singles to right field to make it 4-0 Mizzou.
6th inning - Missouri 4, Ole Miss 0: Even when things look like they might go well for Ole Miss, they don't. After Jordan Henry opens the inning with a single off Crow, he gets doubled up on a failed hit and run when Fuller Smith lines out to third. The top half of the inning ends when Crow strikes out Michael Guerrero with runners on first and second. Missouri gets a runner on in the bottom half when Andrew Thigpen singles, but Ole Miss catcher Brett Basham throws him out on an attempted steal at second (Basham has thrown out two runners now).
7th inning - Missouri 7, Ole Miss 0: Ole Miss gets runners on 1st and 2nd with two outs, but Crow struckout Jordan Henry to end the threat. Lollis then starts the bottom of the seventh with his fourth hit of the game. Lynn ends up getting pulled a batter later, leaving with 6 1/3 inning, 9-hit, four earned run effort. Two batters later, Trevor Coleman makes it 7-0 Missouri when he smacks a three-run home run to right center field.
8th inning - Missouri 7, Ole Miss 0: The Aaron Crow show rolls on. Eight scoreless innings. Nine strikeouts. Three hits. The Big 12 Pitcher of the Year has his game on and Canes fans ought to be thankful he's pitching today and not tomorrow. Ole Miss turns its 47th double play of the season to end the 8th in scoreless fashion. Now, we'll watch Crow close this one out.
Final - Missouri 7, Ole Miss 0: Crow closes it out with a 10-strikeout, three-hit effort. Guy was amazing.