(8) Georgia 7, (1) Miami (FL) 4
June 14, 2008
Georgia rallies in ninth to down No. 1-seeded Miami
Updated: June 15, 2008, 8:48 AM ET
OMAHA, Neb. -- For Miami, it was just bad timing.
Georgia coach David Perno said so over and over.
Perno also was unashamed to say, "I'll take it," after his Bulldogs capitalized on a ninth-inning Miami meltdown that produced Georgia's 7-4 College World Series victory over the top-seeded Hurricanes on Saturday night.
Georgia scored four runs in the ninth -- two on Miami closer Carlos Gutierrez's throwing error -- as the Bulldogs came from behind to win.
"That was a big mistake they made at the wrong time," Perno said. "We took advantage and were very lucky."
Gutierrez, the Minnesota Twins' first-round draft pick, came on to start the ninth to protect Miami's one-run lead. He couldn't do it, and Miami lost for the first time in 46 games in which it led after eight innings.
"Truthfully, that's one of the best wins I've been a part of," said Ryan Peisel, who went 3-for-5 and drove in four runs on his 22nd birthday. "For us as a team, we've been doing it all year. It's not over until the last run is recorded. For us to get that first win under our belt, that's huge."
Georgia (42-23-1), which went two games and out in its last CWS appearance in 2006, advanced to play Stanford on Monday. Miami (52-10) will try to stay alive in Bracket 1 when it meets Florida State in an elimination game, also Monday.
The Bulldogs' winning rally started when Bryce Massanari singled up the middle leading off the ninth. Pinch-runner Adam Fuller moved over on Matt Cerione's sacrifice, and Robbie O'Bryan reached when he swung at Gutierrez's wild pitch on strike three, putting runners at the corners.
Lyle Allen singled in the tying run before David Thoms grounded to Gutierrez (5-4), who threw far wide of first baseman Yonder Alonso. Two runs scored as the ball rolled into the Georgia bullpen. Thoms ended up on third and scored on Peisel's single to left.
"The first gets a basehit on the first pitch, and it gets a little intense at that point," Miami coach Jim Morris said. "That's happened with every closer I've had at some point. It's not the best timing right here to give up a couple runs."
Joshua Fields (3-2) pitched 1 1/3 innings of shutout relief to get the win.
Alonso, Jemile Weeks and Blake Tekotte homered, accounting for all of Miami's runs.
Alonso, the Cincinnati Reds' first-round draft pick, ended Georgia reliever Alex McRee's night by launching a 1-1 pitch into the seats in left-center field with two outs in the seventh. The shot broke a 3-3 tie and was his third in three games, his 18th in his last 32 games and 24th of the season.
"It felt like we had the momentum right there when I hit the home run, but to be honest, I thought we had momentum the whole game," Alonso said. "Things happen. That's why you play the game. Hopefully we get ready for Monday and take care of business."
Weeks homered off Trevor Holder in the first, but Georgia got that run back in the third on Peisel's two-out single.
Tekotte's two-run homer in the third moved Miami ahead 3-1, but it was tied again in the sixth after Peisel's two-run shot.
Georgia threatened to go ahead in the seventh. But with runners on second and third, Miami reliever Kyle Bellamy struck out Thoms when third-base umpire Mitch Mele ruled Thoms went too far on his check swing.
"What?" the stunned Thoms yelled, shaking his head and glaring at Mele as he walked back to the dugout.
McRee got Tekotte to line out and caught Weeks looking at strike three before giving up Alonso's go-ahead home run in the seventh.
National freshman of the year Chris Hernandez worked the first 6 1/3 innings for the Hurricanes, allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk. He struck out five of the first six batters he faced.
Holder lasted four innings for the Bulldogs, allowing three runs on four hits. He walked four and struck out five.
"Miami's the best team we played all year," Perno said. "It's the toughest game we've ever been in. Our kids fought like there was no tomorrow. We played close to our identity and put the big inning together when we needed to."