Sports

UM baseball earns No. 6 national seed, learns NCAA opponents

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The Miami Hurricanes baseball team reacts on Monday, May 30, 2022 to the announcement of who will be coming to play in the NCAA Coral Gables Regional. The Hurricanes open play June 3 against Canisus at Mark Light Field. Andrew Uloza / for THE MIAMI HERALD.

FOR THE MIAMI HERALD

The road to the 2022 College World Series began for the Miami Hurricanes in their clubhouse Monday afternoon as they gathered shoulder-to-shoulder, anxiously awaiting the unveiling of the 64-team draw for the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament.

The day after announcing the Hurricanes would be one of 16 national hosts, the NCAA delivered more good news by awarding UM with a coveted top-eight national seed — at No. 6. The Canes (39-18), who had to feel relieved after losing six of their past eight games, erupted with cheers, then waited to see who would join them in the regional.

This weekend’s three visiting teams: No. 2 regional seed Arizona (37-23), No. 3 regional seed Ole Miss (32-22) and No. 4 regional seed Canisius (29-23).

That precious No. 6 national seed means should Miami win this weekend’s regional, it would host the second-round super regionals June 10-13.

“Excited, obviously, hearing our name called,’’ said UM coach Gino DiMare, whose Hurricanes lead the nation with 13 top-25 victories and were one of only four Power-5 programs with 20 conference wins. “The regional was a foregone conclusion. But one of our goals at the beginning of the year was trying to be a top-eight team at the end of the season, which gives yourself a chance to be playing at home and for the right to go to Omaha. So that’s great news.”

According to the NCAA website, No. 1 regional seed Miami will play its first game at noon Friday (ESPN-plus) against the Canisius Golden Griffins of the MAAC, with Arizona of the Pac-12 opening the regional at 7 p.m. against the SEC’s Ole Miss (ESPNU).

“Sunshine State — here we come,’’ the Golden Griffs posted on social media.

UM athletic director Dan Radakovich told the Miami Herald the school, though among multiple “No. 1 seeds playing early,” was “checking to see if anything can be adjusted, though it would be very unlikely.”

Though UM would surely have a larger crowd for a night game, It does help that Buffalo clearly is not used to the heat and humidity of Miami.

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Miami Hurricanes catcher Maxwell Romero Jr. (4) celebrates by riding the laundry cart inside the dugout as his teammates splash him with water after hitting a home run in the fourth inning against Notre Dame at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field in Coral Gables, Florida on Saturday, May 21, 2022. SAM NAVARRO Special for the Miami Herald

The Hurricanes’ bracket is paired with the Hattiesburg (Mississippi) Regional that includes No. 11 national seed host/No. 1 regional seed Southern Mississippi (43-16), No. 2 regional seed LSU (38-20), No. 3 regional seed Kennesaw State (35-26) and No. 4 regional seed Army (31-23).

If UM prevails this weekend, the Canes would meet the winner of the Hattiesburg Regional in one of eight two-team super regionals. Those eight winners of their best-of-three super regionals earn berths in the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska beginning June 17.

“The first thing I told them: ‘Do not allow yourself to get caught up in who you could play in the super regional, or who you’re matched up with possibly in a regional championship,’’’ DiMare said. “All that should matter is Friday’s game and we’re going to do as much as we can to prepare for that.”

UM has never played Canisius, is 6-4 all-time against Arizona and 4-1 against Mississippi.

The last time the Hurricanes hosted a regional, in 2016, they had the nation’s No. 3 RPI and were named the No. 3 national seed behind No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Louisville. That was the seventh time in school history the Hurricanes were named a national seed, all seven times (1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2015, 2016) resulting in CWS berths.

The Canes have made it to 25 College World Series, winning national titles in 1982, 1985, 1999 and 2001.

“This is what we come to the University of Miami for, to win the national championship,’’ said Canes third baseman Yohandy Morales, who is batting .323 and leads the team with 14 home runs. “But right now we’re just focused on Friday. We’ve got to get past regionals first.’’

UM’s previous national record of 44 consecutive postseason berths was snapped in 2017 under former coach Jim Morris. On Monday, fellow ACC member and UM nemesis Florida State tied the record. FSU (33-23) will open against UCLA (38-22) in the Auburn, Alabama regional.

DiMare said he hadn’t decided on his pitching rotation. Traditionally, teams’ aces are saved for the higher seeds.

Nine ACC teams made the tournament, tied for the most with the Southeastern Conference. Besides Miami and Florida State, they include Georgia Tech, Louisville, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest

The SEC’s teams include the No. 13 national seed Gators (39-22), who will face No. 4 regional seed Central Michigan (42-17) at 6:30 p.m. Friday (ESPN-plus) in Gainesville. No. 2 regional Oklahoma (37-20) and No. 3 seed Liberty (37-21) are also at Gainesville.

For Miami ticket information, visit hurricanesports.com. General admission seating will be available to the general public at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

This story was originally published May 30, 2022 12:46 PM.

Miami Herald sports writer Susan Miller Degnan has been the Miami Hurricanes football beat writer since 2000, the season before the Canes won it all. She has won several APSE national writing awards and has covered everything from Canes baseball to the College Football Playoff to major marathons to the Olympics.





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