(1) Hurricanes 3, Cardinal 8
June 18, 2008
Stanford uses four-run fifth to oust top seed Miami
Updated: June 19, 2008, 12:48 AM ET
OMAHA, Neb. -- For the ninth straight year, there will be no national championship for the top-seeded team at the College World Series.
The pitching tandem of Danny Sandbrink and Erik Davis, and a Stanford offense that produced timely hits were too much Wednesday night for a Miami club that played nowhere near midseason form late in the year.
The Cardinal dispatched the Hurricanes with an 8-3 victory and now get a day off. Next, they'll try to beat Georgia twice to win Bracket 1 and reach the best-of-three championship round for the first time since 2003.
Sean Ratliff's homer and Cord Phelps' triple in a four-run fifth inning were the key blows for the Cardinal (41-23-2). But it was the steady efforts of Sandbrink, a freshman making his sixth start, and Davis, a down-on-his-luck senior, that kept Miami from scoring more than one run in any inning.
"We knew they were going to score some runs," Davis said, "but if we could keep them out of the big inning, we were able to keep momentum on our side."
The Hurricanes (53-11) failed to join the 1999 squad as the only No. 1 national seeds to win the College World Series.
Miami, ranked No. 1 for most of the second half of the season, has been eliminated in three games in each of its four CWS appearances since 2003.
The Hurricanes blew a lead in the ninth inning and lost 7-4 to Georgia in their Omaha opener. They bounced back to beat Florida State 7-5, but closer Carlos Gutierrez was shaky for the second straight game and the Seminoles scored three runs in the ninth to make things interesting.
• Stanford second baseman Cord Phelps was a home run shy of becoming the second player in CWS history to hit for the cycle. He went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and a run scored.
• Miami was 2-for-15 with eight strikeouts with runners in scoring position in this game (5-for-32 with 17 strikeouts in three CWS games).
• Miami's 3 through 6 hitters combined for two RBIs in Omaha.
• Miami has been eliminated in three games in each of its last four CWS appearances.
-- ESPN.com research
Jim Morris, who has brought 10 of his 14 Miami teams to the CWS, said the Hurricanes simply weren't at their best when they needed to be.
"In the middle of the season, I felt like we could beat anybody at any time because we had all the cylinders clicking," he said. "We didn't get it going out here. No question."
Phelps had three of Stanford's 11 hits and drove in two runs. He had a single and double to go with his triple and missed out on hitting for the cycle when he flied out to short right in the seventh inning. No one has hit for the cycle at the CWS since Minnesota's Jerry Kindall in 1956.
"Obviously, I knew in the back of my mind I was a home run away from a cycle," said Phelps, who has 13 homers. "When you think about something like that, it never happens."
After Miami's first two batters reached on singles, Sandbrink and Davis combined to hold the Hurricanes without a hit until the sixth inning. Sandbrink allowed two hits and one run in four innings.
Davis (8-3), sent to the bullpen for the CWS after struggling as a starter late in the year, shut down a Hurricanes threat when he entered in the fifth. After Sandbrink issued a leadoff walk, Davis walked his first batter to put two runners on.
But he got Jemile Weeks to foul out trying to bunt and struck out Miami's top sluggers, Yonder Alonso and Mark Sobolewski.
For Alonso, the No. 7 pick in the draft by the Cincinnati Reds, it marked the first time since March 2007 that he struck out three times in a game.
"I just felt like we were trying to do too much, especially myself," Alonso said. "The guy had a good changeup and fastball and he's a competitor."
Davis, the San Diego Padres' 13th-round draft pick, earned a measure of redemption with his performance. He had been a starter in all 16 of his appearances before the CWS, but landed in the bullpen after three straight poor outings. He had allowed 11 earned runs in his previous 13 innings coming into Omaha, and pitched an inning of relief against Florida State on Saturday and allowed a run on two hits.
Davis put up decent numbers in his four innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and two walks. He struck out six.
"Maybe not my best statistic-wise, but the biggest team-wise," Davis said. "Danny Sandbrink, myself and Drew [Storen], we held a very good offense in check for most of the game. When our pitching fluctuates, we get into trouble. We kept them off balance and didn't allow them to get that big inning."
Storen took over for Davis with no outs in the ninth after Weeks walked and Alonso doubled. He got Sobolewski to pop out and struck out Ryan Jackson, then got the last out when he snagged Adan Severino's hard liner.
Ratliff's 22nd homer, and fourth in 10 NCAA tournament games, ended Miami starter Enrique Garcia's night after 4 1-3 innings. Garcia (7-3) had worked at least five innings in eight of his nine previous starts, but was tagged for five runs on eight hits -- the last Ratliff's high fly into the stands in right-center.
Toby Gerhart reached on Sobolewski's error at third and Jake Schlander singled before Phelps hit a two-run triple.
"I thought we got some big hits," Stanford coach Mark Marquess said. "The parity in college baseball, especially when you're here, you have to win the big spot with a pitch and get the big hit at the right time. We weren't able to do that the other night against Georgia. Tonight, we got the big hit."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press