Canes Move On In Gainesville [Fla.] Regional
Miami takes down Jacksonville in Gainesville Regional opener
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Sophomore Steven Ewing tossed six strong innings and freshman Corey Janson belted his first career home run on Friday, helping the 16th-ranked and No. 2 seed University of Miami Hurricanes defeat No. 3 seed Jacksonville University, 7-2, in the opening game of the Gainesville [Fla.] Regional at McKethan Stadium. The game was the first of several taking place on the opening day of the NCAA Baseball Tournament happening around the nation.
The pitching was the key and the hits came when needed on Friday, as the story of the day came from the pitcher and catcher – helping UMiami (37-21) to the old cliché “Survive and Advance”.
Ewing, a Central Florida native of Orlando, toed the rubber in the biggest game of his career-to-date for the Hurricanes. He allowed just a single earned run on a hit and struck out two while walking three in a strong performance against Jacksonville (36-23). The left-hander was effective in a number of areas, but most importantly he drew a variety of fly balls and collected outs when needed.
Then it was freshman Corey Janson, making just his second career start – second consecutive – in place of freshman Shane Rowland. The freshman was strong at the plate – as well as behind it.
In the fifth, Janson advanced the UMiami lead with his first home run of his career, taking a Matt Tomshaw 1-0 pitch deep to right field – pushing the Hurricanes lead to 3-1. For UM, it was just the second homer to right all season, and the third homer of the year by a catcher.
The Canes stretched the lead in the eighth as UM chased Tomshaw and went through three pitchers by hanging four runs on the Dolphins to break open the game, 7-2.
After Nathan Melendres singled to begin the Hurricanes’ at-bat, JU head coach Terry Alexander went to his bullpen for Chris Kaminski.
The final line on Tomshaw, who suffered the loss to fall to 8-4 on the year, was seven innings pitched, allowing four runs (two earned) on four hits, striking out five and walking three.
Three consecutive batters reached safe for the Hurricanes with a walk to Rony Rodriguez and a single by Harold Martinez, loading the bases with no outs. Brad Fieger then reached on an error by the JU infield, allowing Melendres to score and push the UM lead to 4-2. The decisive blow was recorded two batters later when freshman right fielder Dale Carey delivered a RBI single to right – plating Martinez – and increasing the Canes’ lead, 6-2.
The final score of 7-2 came when Zeke DeVoss reached base safely for the fourth time on the day, drawing a walk from JU reliever Chris Anderson with the bases loaded, allowing Fieger to score on the play. For DeVoss, he has now reached base in 16 of his last 19 at-bats.
UM relief pitchers Adam Sargent, Sam Robinson, Travis Miller and Daniel Miranda combined to close-out the game, allowing just one run on two hits and striking out three across the final three frames.
With the game tied at 1-all in the home-half of the third, junior left fielder Rony Rodriguez registered his second RBI of the day – both times scoring Zeke DeVoss – with a ground-out to short that allowed DeVoss to scamper in from third on the play.
The Hurricanes jumped on the board first when Rodriguez drilled a RBI double down the left field line to cross DeVoss – who reached safely to start the inning on an error by JU shortstop Chris Moye. Melendres sacrificed DeVoss to second a batter earlier.
For DeVoss, it was the fifth consecutive game he’s led off the game for the Canes by reaching base.
In the top of the third, Jacksonville finally got to UMiami starter Ewing, as an infield single, a hit batter and a walk loaded the bases with one out on the Orlando sophomore. JU tied the game at 1-all with an Adam Brett Walker sacrifice fly to right that plated designated hitter Chris Connelly who led off the Dolphins’ at-bat with a walk.
In the seventh, Jacksonville got back on the board to pull the Dolphins to within one, 3-2, as a RBI single to center off the bat off Daniel Gulbransen allowed leadoff man and second baseman Taylor Ratliff to score from second.
The run was charged to reliever Adam Sargent, though Sam Robinson allowed the hit. Robinson was relieved by junior Travis Miller with the Dolphins’ best-hitter and Atlantic Sun Player of the Year – Adam Brett Walker – coming to the plate with two on and two away. Miller got Walker to ground into a fielder’s choice to Stephen Perez at short – with Perez flipping to DeVoss at second to get Gulbransen and preserve the 3-2 lead for the Canes.
With the win on Friday, Ewing improved his record for the year to 8-2, lowering his ERA to 2.66 in the process.
The Hurricanes will next face the winner of this afternoon’s Florida and Manhattan game tomorrow at 4 p.m. The Gators are the top seed in the Gainesville [Fla.] Regional, while the Jaspers of Manhattan are the No. 4 seed.