By TOM STAD
June 19, 2008
Stanford 8, No. 1 Miami 3
While the late-inning drama was nonexistent at Rosenblatt Stadium for a night, the theme of the College World Series certainly continued. “Upset” has become the buzzword in Omaha this week, and you can add another to the list as Stanford sent top-ranked Miami back to south Florida last night with a 8-3 victory. Cardinal starter Danny Sandbrink, who only started a handful of games during the regular season, pitched four solid innings, giving up just one run on two hits, and then the bullpen took it the rest of the way in this elimination game. Miami did have a 1-0 lead, manufacturing a run in the first inning that scored on third baseman Mark Sobolewski’s sacrifice fly to center field. After that, though, it was all Cardinal. Junior catcher Jason Castro, who would be considered the best player in the nation if not for some guy named Posey down in Tallahassee, evened the score in the third with an RBI single and Stanford (41-23-1) tacked on another to take the lead before Hurricane starter Enrique Garcia (7-3) worked his way out of the inning. Mark Marquess’ bunch would extend the lead to 3-1 in the fourth before putting the game away in the fifth. With one on and one out, centerfielder Sean Ratliff (1-for-3, 2 RBI) hit a two-run blast - his 22nd of the year - that knocked Garcia from the game and gave Stanford some breathing room at 5-1. Three batters later, with two on and two out, leadoff man Cord Phelps battled hard, and on the ninth pitch of the at bat he roped a two-run triple past the diving Blake Tekotte in center to extend the lead to 7-1. Each team would add a run over the next two frames before Miami (53-11) looked as if they might make a comeback, loading the bases with three straight singles to start the eighth. DH Jason Hagerty hit a sacrifice fly to right to score a run, but Stanford reliever Erik Davis got catcher Yasmani Grandal and Tekotte on back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat. Stanford now moves on to face undefeated Georgia on tomorrow night at 7 p.m. Should the Cardinal win that game, they would have to beat the Bulldogs again on Saturday to get to the championship series.
Unreal: The best team all year gone after three games. Eight players on the Miami roster were selected in the recent MLB draft - three in the first round. Yet somehow all that talent managed to lay an egg in the CWS after a relatively easy couple of Regionals. Head coach Jim Morris will have plenty of time to think about where things went wrong as the Hurricanes are done for the year. It seems as if they left their bats in Coral Gables, scoring a total of 14 runs in three games. For a team with a .322 collective batting average heading into Omaha, that’s just not good enough. They deserve to be heading home, as did in-state rival FSU. With this in mind, we turn our attention to No. 2 North Carolina. Can the top six seeds all be gone before the championship series even starts? I’m leaning towards yes at this point, even though LSU lost their opener in Omaha to the Tar Heels 8-4 on Sunday. I mean, there has to be a reason the ACC is struggling and the SEC teams look much more energetic, right? Not to mention the fact that just about every favorite has lost with the exception of that LSU vs. UNC game. It seems to be the exception to the rule this year. Look for a low-scoring affair where LSU finds a way to manufacture a run or two and gets one big blast to win and advance to meet Fresno State.