Hurricanes drop regional game to Texas, putting season in jeopardy
CORAL GABLES — The Hurricanes dug an early hole for themselves on Saturday night, and they could not climb out of it. Now their season is in jeopardy.
No. 1 seed Miami (41-20) fell behind No. 2 seed Texas (40-20) 4-0 in the first three innings and could only push across a solitary run, dropping its first regional game at Mark Light Field. The Hurricanes now need to win three straight games to keep their season alive.
Sophomore Karson Ligon struggled in his start Saturday night. Dylan Campell put the Longhorns on the board quickly, smashing a two-run homer to open the scoring in the first inning. Jack O’Dowd extended the Longhorns’ lead to three with a solo home run in the second inning. Jalin Flores gave Texas a 4-0 lead with an RBI single in the third inning.
Ligon pitched two innings, giving up five hits and four runs. His night ended after he hit Texas catcher Garret Guillemette in the head. Guillemette stayed on the ground near home plate for a moment before springing up. He left the game temporarily but returned after the Texas medical staff evaluated him for a concussion and cleared him to play.
Reliever Rafe Schlesinger kept the Hurricanes in the game, pitching seven innings of scoreless relief after entering the game for Ligon in the third inning.
The Hurricanes had their chances to match the Longhorns early in the game. Miami loaded the bases twice in the first two innings but failed to capitalize on its opportunities, even with prolific third baseman Yohandy Morales getting a bases-loaded opportunity in the second inning.
Texas stater Lebarron Johnson pitched a complete game, throwing 130 pitches. He allowed one run on seven hits and struck out eight UM batters.
Shortstop Dominic Pitelli got the Hurricanes in the run column with an opposite-field home run — his 12th homer of the season — in the fourth inning. But that was all the offense Miami could muster Saturday night.
The Hurricanes must play two games on Sunday to keep their season alive. They will face No. 3 seed Louisiana at noon. The Ragin’ Cajuns (41-23) beat Maine 19-10 on Saturday. If Miami beats Louisiana, it will face Texas again at 6 p.m. The Hurricanes will have to beat the Longhorns Sunday night to force a decisive game on Monday, which would determine which team advances to the super regionals. The Hurricanes last advanced to the super regionals in 2016.