OMAHA, Neb. – Miami was supposed to have an advantage in its College World Series matchup with Arizona. The Hurricanes had been here and done this.
It sure didn’t look that way.
The UA jumped on Miami from the start Saturday night and defeated the No. 3 national seed 5-1 in front of 25,715 at TD Ameritrade Park.
Arizona (45-21) will face Oklahoma State on Monday at 4 p.m., Tucson time, in the winners’ bracket. OSU defeated UC Santa Barbara 1-0 earlier Saturday. The Gauchos and Hurricanes will play in an elimination game at 11 a.m. Monday.
The victory was underdog Arizona’s sixth in a row and 13th in its past 14 games. Miami suffered just its 13th loss of the season.
Despite its extensive CWS experience, Miami looked like the nervous team in the first inning, when Arizona scored three runs – on one hit. Hurricanes starter Michael Mediavilla walked two batters and hit two. Sophomore center fielder Jared Oliva delivered the hit, a two-RBI single to right.
Those runs proved to be enough for senior starter Nathan Bannister, who improved to 12-2 on the season. Bannister allowed one run on eight hits in seven innings. He struck out 11 batters, tying his career high.
Miami made Bannister work, but he worked out of trouble almost every time he faced it. The most the Hurricanes could muster was one run in the bottom of the fourth – despite having the bases loaded with one out.
Just when it seemed the momentum might shift toward Miami, Arizona responded with two runs in the top of the sixth. Zach Gibbons delivered the big blow, a two-RBI double into the right-field corner that scored Louis Boyd (who had doubled) and Cody Ramer (who had singled).
Cameron Ming pitched the final two innings, finishing an Arizona victory for the fourth straight time.
Arizona will practice Sunday before facing Oklahoma State on Monday. The Cowboys, one of three Big 12 schools among the eight College World Series participants, are 42-20 and have won six in a row. They have allowed a total of six runs during that streak.