As expected, the Miami Hurricanes were not named one of eight national seeds Monday for the NCAA Division I baseball tournament coming this weekend to 16, four-team regional sites around the nation.
However, the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee graced the Hurricanes with one of the least intense regionals.
Coming to Coral Gables this weekend: No. 4 regional seed Bethune-Cookman (26-31, 208 RPI) of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference; No. 3 seed Columbia (29-18 and No. 35 RPI) of the Ivy League; and No. 2 seed Texas Tech (40-18, No. 17 RPI) of the Big 12.
The No. 1 regional seed Hurricanes (41-17 and No. 15 RPI) will face Bethune-Cookman at 7 p.m. Friday (according to ESPNU) at Alex Rodriguez Park, with Columbia vs. Texas Tech opening the Coral Gables regional at 2.
Miami is 1-1 this season vs. Bethune-Cookman. On March 11 UM lost 7-3 to Bethune. A week after throwing the second perfect game in program history, Javi Salas was thrashed for six runs in the game's first inning. Bethune's Montana Durapau allowed three runs -- two earned -- on nine hits in eight innings. He walked two and struck out seven.
Durapau (11-1, 1.71 ERA) is expected to start against UM Friday. UM coach Jim Morris said he is still deciding who to pitch Friday.
UM defeated Bethune 10-1 on April 2. Salas earned the victory in relief.
Bethune-Cookman got into the NCAA tournament by winning the MEAC Tournament last weekend.
The Hurricanes have not missed the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship since 1972 – a stretch of 42 consecutive seasons - and own an all-time record of 117-43 (.731). Miami’s all-time mark in the postseason is 178-91 (.661).
“It’s a credit to our administration to give us an opportunity to compete at that level, to our players and our coaches to be able to keep that string going,” head coach Jim Morris said of the program’s postseason streak. “It’s an amazing thing."
Second-seeded Texas Tech finished the regular season with a 14-10 record in the Big 12 and have played UM only once, losing 13-0 to the Canes on May 23, 1998 in the Coral Gables Regional.
Third-seeded Columbia made its first trip to Coral Gables in 2013, when Miami won back-to-back games. The Ivy League champions finished 2014 with a 15-5 league record.
The Coral Gables regional is opposite the Gainesville regional, with No. 1 regional seed and No. 2 national seed Florida hosting tough competitors in perennial powers Long Beach State (the No. 2 regional seed at 32-24), North Carolina (the No. 3 regional seed at 34-25) and the College of Charleston (the No. 4 regional seed at 41-17).
If any team other than Florida in the Gainesville regional wins the Gainesville regional, and UM wins its regional, UM would host the next round's super regional.
However, if Florida wins its regional, and UM wins the Coral Gables regional, UM would travel to Gainesville for the two-team super regional.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN