Day 2 of the NCAA Coral Gables Regional is upon us, with No. 4 seed Bethune-Cookman (26-32) ready to face No. 3 seed Columbia (29-19) at 2 p.m. Saturday. The team that loses is eliminated from the tournament.
The top-seeded Hurricanes (42-17) defeated Bethune-Cookman 1-0 in a doozy of a pitchers' duel late Friday night.
The Canes will take on Texas Tech (41-18) at 7 p.m. Saturday in the winners' bracket. Tech defeated Columbia 3-2 in the ninth innings on Friday afternoon.
Bethune pitcher Montana Durapau was amazing, as usual, last night against MIami. Here were his late-night comments after the game:
Q: Montana, you were matching Suarez—only difference was that he was able to keep his pitch count low. What were the Canes doing to cause this to happen?
Durapau (held UM to no runs and 3 hits in seven innings, but threw 109 pitches): I don’t think it was anything they [the Canes] were doing per se, I just fell behind. I should’ve just attacked, attacked, attacked, but you just have to make the best of it and that’s what I tried to do.
Q: Montana, when you came out of the game, what were the thoughts going through your head after you just pitched 7 shutout innings? Do you feel like the momentum was on your team’s side that some thought you were going to win?
Durapau: Oh, for sure. I have all the faith in the world in my guys. As a starter, you just try and give your team the best opportunity to win and you do that as long as you can. I had faith in our bullpen—I wasn’t mad coming out of the game. We have a job to do—we have to fire guys up and just stay in the game.
Q: How would you say that you being able to win here earlier in the season helped your pitching today—if at all?
Durapau: You know, I faced Miami a couple of times: two starts against them, two wins. You get to see the hitters so many times, you get to see holes, you see things you can exploit—that only helps you as a starter.
Here's Bethune-Cookman coach Jason Beverlin's reaction to game:
What a great couple of baseball games—both games—coming down to the last inning, both of them. Hats off to all the teams in this regional. I thought everyone played extremely well, and that’s the way baseball is supposed to be. It’s nip and tuck in this part of the year and coming down to the last inning and executing that last inning. What a great day of baseball.
Some Q and A with Beverlin:
Q: How disappointing was this knowing what a great pitching effort Durpeau had?
A: Yeah, he was unbelievable; he has been all year. I’ll put him up against anybody’s number one…he’s pitched that way no matter where we go—we could go play Washington, Miami—it doesn’t matter. All the teams in our league, he’s the same guy and he deals—that’s what he does. And that’s the bottom line. It doesn’t matter what conference, what team—he pitches the same way, and it’s good. But it is disappointing, there’s no question, but I’m not disappointed in the way we played at all. I thought we hit the ball pretty well. His pitch count was low, and he obviously did a good job of getting out of trouble and making pitches when he had to—no question. But with the approach we had, because he has good breaking stuff and he was able to bury his slider late in the count, we were trying to get to him early, and that’s where we got some of our hits but also got a lot of our outs and kept his pitch count down for him.
Q: What was the reaction of the players after the game coming so close to upsetting the #1 seed in the regional and having it end the way it did?
A: No question, they’re disappointed and rightly so. I’m disappointed, but I’m definitely not disappointed in the way they played. I told them to play that way tomorrow. That’s the way I want them to play, and I’m very proud of the way they went about their business and played the game. We just didn’t get a big hit when we needed it, but that’s baseball—it happens.
Q: It was a very clean game until the last inning—the right fielder with a blunder and that pitch at the end. When you talk about that, is that uncharacteristic for your team?
A: I thought we played great defense like you said until that last inning. We made a couple mistakes the last inning but like I said, I’m very proud of the way we played. It just so happens that was the same inning and the last inning, so it is what it is. But overall, I think we played excellent defense and did a good job.
Q: What is it about your team that has you guys stepping up to the challenge?
A: What I try and pass on to our guys is regardless of who we play, you’re going to play to win the game. That’s why we play—that’s why there’s a scoreboard. There’s no moral victory- hey, we kept it close and lost- no, they’re disappointed we lost because they played to win the game today. I don’t care who we play, if it’s the number 1 team in the country or the #1 team in the regional, we are playing to win—not just to make a good showing. I think they really take that to heart, and that’s why you see what you see. They do a good job of not being intimidated and playing the games to try and win regardless of what the name on the other jersey says
Miami Players: Winning pitcher Andrew Suarez (complete game shutout victory), David Thompson (he scored the winning run on a wild pitch with two outs in the ninth)
Suarez on his night:
I felt like all of my pitches were working and my command got better as the game went on. I was leaving some down the plate and they were getting some hits and then after that I just worked on keeping the ball low.
Suarez on the complete game:
It feels good, finally getting the win once I go nine innings.
David Thompson on the last play:
I thought it was a strike the catcher just missed it and ran home, plain and simple.
Thompson on what was said in the middle of the 8th:
Our captain, Tyler Palmer, brought us together and he was just telling us ‘this is our season, our season is on the line’. We struggled all game, we struggled through the ninth inning but we found a way to win. And that’s what he was telling us, we just have to find a way to win no matter what.
Thompson on the win:
It was awesome. It’s just a blessing to be back out on the field. You know I didn’t play that well today but I found a way to get on base and we just, Andy pitched a heck of a game and we just found a way to win. It was an amazing feeling.
Thompson on Bethune-Cookman’s Durapau
I wouldn’t say we were trying too hard. He was a really good pitcher and he just pitched well against us the last time we played them and he pitched well against us today and he kept us off balance all game.
UM coach Jim Morris (Note that he says freshman right fielder Willie Abreu will likely sit out Saturday night's game with a hamstring pull.)
First of all I’d like to congratulate in particular Durapau for the pitching performance. It was an amazing game pitched by both guys. Both guys pitched just as good as Suarez pitched and I don’t know about Durapau but he can’t be any better. He’s pitched good against us his whole career, thank goodness he’s a senior. We knew it was going to be a tough outing because he has beaten us twice before so he’s outstanding and they have a really good club and they’re well coached and its just a great win for us, huge win. You just have to find a way to win and that was a crazy way to win it but that’s a huge win.
Morris on the offense, Suarez:
We hit and ran once and hit it up the middle and it was a force out and got caught trying to steal a base one time to try to get someone in scoring position. He had to try to make something happen because as a normal rule he’s a guy who’s not going to beat himself and he’s just an outstanding competitor. Suarez of course had a great game and I know some people were asking me about pitching him, he’s probably our top draft pick come the 5th of June and that’s because of the way he pitched tonight. He’s pitched some gems, our first complete game of the year. We always go to our bullpen and try to save our guys until NCAA tournament time to even consider going with them a complete game and he would have gone another inning because he threw 94 pitches and he wanted to stay in the game and we would have let him throw one more inning so it was a great outing. We played some good defense and of course Lopez go the big hit right center to get David Thompson to third, don’t want to forget that and all the things that happened tonight.
Morris on B-C reliever Scott Garner
His ERA is five something and he comes in and strikes out the side and I’m thinking why in the world his ERA is five something to be honest with you. So it was a crazy thing and I know I was checking, we were checking pitch counts all night hoping that Durapau’s pitch count got over 100 and got out cause I’ve seen him pitch. Suarez did a great job of keeping his pitch count down all night.
Morris on play of Abreu:
Well he’s just struggling. He’s got a hamstring pull and its bothering him to play a little right now and I think he probably needs to rest and get well because he’s been a great player all his life. He’s a USA Baseball guy that’s played in every level, at the top of the level. He was drafted and turned down a lot of money to come to school. He’s just struggling a little bit which is reflected by the fact that he’s still bothered by that pulled hamstring. I’ll probably give him the day off tomorrow too.
Morris on deciding to start Suarez Friday:
It’s the same way we do it every year. I’ve been here for 21 years and we’ve never thrown my ace one time, opening day. Our pitchers Suarez is very good, B-Rad is very good and Chris Diaz is an All-American so all three of them are very good. It can be anybody on a given day and I was more worried about getting a run than our pitching. We’ve don’t that every time since I’ve been here for 21years. Being the one seed if were 1 seed then we haven’t started our number one starter.
Thanks to UM and Taylor McGillis for the transcription.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN