FRIDAY, JUNE 03, 2011
Baseball falls to #16 Miami, 7-2, in first day of Gainesville Regional
Senior Matthew Tomshaw continued his excellence away from Jacksonville. But three errors and a continued offensive malaise were too much to overcome as the Dolphins fell to No. 16 Miami, 7-2, in the opener of the NCAA Regional on a sweltering Friday afternoon at Florida’s McKethan Stadium.
Tomshaw allowed just four runs (two earned) in seven innings against the nationally ranked Hurricanes, but the southpaw still lost for the first time away from home all season. JU fell to 36-23 and will face the loser of the No. 2 Florida-Manhattan game in an elimination contest on Saturday at 12:04 p.m. on ESPNU. The game can also be followed on 1010XL with Joel Lamp calling all of the action.
“This falls on me because I didn’t do enough to get us prepared enough to play,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “Our offense has carried us all season long but we have struggled since we have reached the postseason. Matthew was tremendous today but we can’t keep putting pressure on our pitchers to hold teams like Miami at bay. We have to come out tomorrow and show how we got to this point.”
The Dolphins only scratched across one run and generated just a lone base hit in six innings against Miami starter Steve Ewing (8-2). The southpaw walked three and struck out two before four members of the bullpen corps closed out the win. JU has now lost its last eight against Miami and is 0-3 against the Hurricanes in the NCAA Tournament dating back to 2009.
Miami scored four runs in the eighth to build a comfortable lead after nursing a one-run edge entering the inning. JU surrendered four unearned runs overall.
Tomshaw entered with a 6-0 record and a 2.20 ERA in seven starts away from home in 2011.
Playing in its fourth regional in the last six years, the Dolphins stayed competitive throughout and put the potential go-ahead run on base in the seventh. After Ewing departed, Miami needed three relievers to get through the inning, scoring once off sophomore center fielder Dan Gulbransen’s RBI single to center to cut JU’s deficit to 3-2.
The Dolphins tripled its hit total in one inning alone, working a single and a walk before Gulbransen drove in freshman second baseman Taylor Ratliff and advanced junior left fielder Jonathan Murphy to second. That brought up sophomore first baseman Adam Brett Walker with the tying run in scoring position before – induced a soft-hit ground out to end the threat.
JU left a game-high eight men on base and the third-through-sixth hitters went a combined 1-for-12 with two RBI. Since the postseason started on May 25, the Dolphins are batting .221 (36-163) with 50 runners left on base and an average of two runs per contest in five games.
The Hurricanes capitalized on two JU errors to plate its first two runs. Miami started its first rally with the leadoff man reaching on a throwing miscue. After a sacrifice, Zeke Devoss came around to score when Rony Rodriguez ripped a first-pitch double down the leftfield line for a 1-0 edge.
Tomshaw failed to help his own cause, throwing a soft grounder well wide of first base to allow Devoss to advance into scoring position leading off the third. Rodriguez picked up his second RBI with a ground out to put Miami ahead, 2-1, in the third.
Ninth-hitting catcher Corey Jansen provided Miami with an unlikely power source leading off the fifth. Jansen’s opposite-field solo shot to right off 1-0 fastball marked his first career home run and the first earned run Tomshaw allowed as the Hurricanes went ahead, 3-1.
The team-wide offensive torpor that plagued JU’s offense in the Atlantic Sun Tournament extended through the opening six innings when JU managed just one hit off a bunt single.
Despite the limited hits, JU stayed patient at the plate against Ewing to work two walks around that bunt in the third. Walker then drove in JU’s first run of the regional when the Golden Spikes Award candidate came within inches of launching an opposite-field grand slam before Dale Carey made the catch and collided with the wall in front of the “Florida” sign in right.
Walker, who is also a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy (NCBWA), still picked up his team-leading 73rd RBI of the season with the sacrifice fly, knotting the score at 1.
The Dolphins would not put multiple runs on base again until Ewing departed before the seventh despite throwing just 84 pitches.