UM baseball must travel to Gainesville for regional

University of Miami baseball coach Jim Morris was not especially pleased Monday that his Hurricanes were chosen by the NCAA Division I selection committee to travel to Gainesville for the NCAA regionals.

His Canes, however, were thrilled.

After losing nine of the past 10 games to the Gators ? deemed the No. 2 national seed Monday and ranked No. 1 nationally by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball ? the Hurricanes insist they?re ready to turn around their recent fortune and become the conquerors instead of the conquered.

No. 2 regional seed UM (36-21) opens the double-elimination regional at noon Friday against No. 3 seed Jacksonville (36-22). The Southeastern Conference champion Gators (45-16) open at 4 p.m. Friday against No. 4 seed Manhattan College (34-17), which clinched its first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament title since 2006 on Saturday.

?It?s not my favorite place to go, for sure,?? Morris said about 30 minutes after watching the NCAA selection show with his players in the UM clubhouse. ?The seedings make absolutely no sense to me. My understanding is it came down to three teams for two [final host sites] and we just missed out.??

Morris was upset that the Hurricanes, whose RPI Monday was 16th nationally, are in a regional bracket with the No. 2 national seed, as opposed to a lower-rated team. The Gators eliminated UM at Gainesville last year in the super regionals. They eliminated the Canes at Gainesville in the 2009 regional.

?Florida is definitely good enough motivation for us,?? UM outfielder Nathan Melendres said. ?They swept us this year and since I?ve been here we?ve finished our season over there twice. We?re excited to go play over there.??

Miami is ranked as high as 16th by Baseball America and as low as 23rd in the USA Today/ESPN coaches? poll.

This year?s eight national seeds: Virginia (49-9), Florida, North Carolina (45-14), South Carolina (45-14), Florida State (42-17), Vanderbilt (47-10), Texas (43-15) and Rice (41-19).

Miami, in the tournament field for a record 39th consecutive year, is in a regional whose winner will be matched in a best-of-three-game super regional the following weekend against the winner of Georgia Tech?s regional in Atlanta. The other teams in that regional are Austin Peay (33-22), Mississippi State (34-23) and Southern Miss. (39-17).

Georgia Tech (40-19) swept UM this season in Coral Gables.

FIU (40-18-1) also made the tournament as the No. 2 regional seed at No. 3 national seed North Carolina. FAU (32-25) did not make the tournament.

FSU will be host to Bethune-Cookman (36-23), Alabama (33-26) and UCF (38-21).

Over in Coral Gables, the Hurricanes were inundated with questions about the Gators, who also swept them in a three-game series at Gainesville in early March.

?Redemption,?? said UM?s ace Bryan Radziewski, who likely won?t start the regional opener and will be saved for a later game. ?We need to forget about what happened. It?s a whole new season now and a different mentality.??

UM outfielder and leading batter Zeke DeVoss, who hit .800 at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, said he was excited about going to Gainesville. ?It?s our turn to get them back,?? DeVoss said. ?It?s our time.?

UM is 79-19 all-time against the Jacksonville Dolphins and 5-1 all-time against the Manhattan Jaspers.

The Hurricanes lost their last two road regionals: in 2009 at Gainesville and in 2007 at Columbia, Mo.

The Canes won the 2006 regional in Lincoln, Neb., where they defeated, among their competitors, Manhattan. They won three consecutive games in Lincoln, the last two against the Jaspers.

May 31st, 2011 | Posted in Travel
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