The Miami Hurricane baseball team traditionally wears white baseball cleats at the College World Series in Omaha.
But in this year, the Canes will save the money needed to purchase 31 pairs. On Sunday, the Florida Gators ended the team's season with a 16-5 win in Gainesville.
Starting pitcher Iden Nazario surrendered five runs on four hits and two walks before even recording an out. The sophomore is usually effectively wild, but all he did Sunday was effectively warm up the Gator bats.
UM Coach Jim Morris must have seen the Gator barrage coming. He was ejected between the first and second inning. After Cane left fielder Chris Herrmann was hit by a pitch, the umpire ruled that he leaned into it and called it a ball. That angered Morris, who then had to watch Herrmann strike out on the next pitch.
Whether it was because of the umpire's call, the strikeout, or the early five-run deficit, Morris went ballistic and had to be escorted off the field after his ejection. Pitching coach JD Arteaga filled in for Morris, but he fared no better as the Gators racked up 11 more runs. In all, Florida tallied 22 hits and 27 Gators reached base in 52 at-bats.
The Canes' offense came into the game with a runners-in-scoring-position average of below .200 and again struggled to score runs again . The defense didn't fare any better as fielders recorded two errors; sophomore catcher Yasmani Grandal committed his fourth screw-up of the four-game tournament.
Gator starting pitcher Alex Panteliodis wasn't sharp either. He lasted just 4 2/3 innings while giving up five runs. His bullpen, however, was outstanding. The unit allowed no runs while striking out five over 4 1/3 innings.
The Cane bullpen got rocked for 11 runs and two homers, but in what was probably his last outing for Miami, closer Kyle Bellamy was nasty. The flame-throwing, side-winding junior threw two innings, struck out three and allowed just one hit. He's expected to go pro this year.
The disappointing performance against the Gators Sunday night overshadowed a heroic outing by David Gutierrez, who had tossed a complete game shut-out with eight strikeouts against Jacksonville in the early afternoon to avoid elimination.
The Hurricane baseball program lost superstars Yonder Alonso and Jemile Weeks to the draft last year and pitcher Eric Erickson to injury before the season even started. So even on opening day, few expected a repeat of last year's success. However, the current roster features 15 underclassmen and Miami has a way of reloading each year with top talent, so a bulk purchase of white cleats might be in order for next season. This team will almost certainly contend for a trip to the College World Series.