On To The Super Regionals For No. 1 Miami
May 27, 2001
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Kevin Brown stepped out of the dugout, turned toward the stands at Mark Light Stadium and raised his left index finger high into the air as the crowd cheered wildly.
It was a well-deserved curtain call.
Brown hit three home runs and drove in 10 RBI — breaking the NCAA regional record — as the Miami Hurricanes won their 14th consecutive postseason game at home Sunday, beating Stetson 16-8 to advance to the NCAA super regionals.
With a berth in the College World Series at stake, Miami (47-12) will play host to one of the eight super regionals beginning Friday.
Not surprisingly, Brown was named the regional’s most outstanding player. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound senior tied four school records and broke Mark Kotsay’s NCAA regional RBI record set in 1996. Playing for Cal State Fullerton, Kotsay drove in nine runs against Delaware.
Brown hit a three-run homer in the second inning, his second career grand slam in the third and a three-run shot in the sixth that capped a five-run inning and pushed Miami’s lead to 15-7.
The Hurricanes overcame four Stetson (43-17) home runs, including two from Jeff Christy. Frank Corr and Chris Westervelt also had homers. All four came off starter Brian Walker.
Walker gave up three homers in Stetson’s four-run third inning, the first time Miami gave up three homers in an inning since April 16, 2000 against Florida State.
But reliever Dan Smith, Luke DeBold and Vince Vazquez held the Hatters to one run the rest of the way. Smith (4-0) allowed one hit in three innings. He stuck out one and did not walk anyone, lowering his team-best ERA to 0.82.
Stetson got two strong outings from starters Brian Sullivan and Roger Lincoln in elimination games against Bucknell and Florida on Saturday, but Andy Wilson struggled against the Hurricanes.
Wilson (2-3) gave up five hits, three walks and seven runs in two innings.
Brown, hitting eighth in the lineup, gave Miami a rare boost of power. Coming into the game, the ‘Canes had hit just 62 homers, the program’s fewest home runs in a season since hitting 60 in 1980.
Brown was the hero of the 1999 championship game, driving in four runs against Florida State. He was hitting fifth in the order and looked to be Miami’s future superstar. But the last two years have been anything but shining.
Brown had seven homers last season and hit .261 with nine homers this year. He was benched in the middle of the season and dropped to eighth in the lineup.
He returned to his 1999 form Sunday, just in time for the Hurricanes to improve to 66-10 all-time in postseason play at home.