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Hurricanes' Season Ended by Missouri State

June 2, 2012

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 R H E W: P. Johnson (4-6)
Hurricanes 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 0 L: S. Ewing (6-3)
Bears 7 2 0 0 0 3 0 0 X 12 15 0  

2B: S. Perez (12), R. Rodriguez (14) | Seifert, Maddox
C. Mack, P. O’Brien

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Miami’s postseason run was ended early Saturday afternoon, as the Missouri State Bears took down the No. 21 Hurricanes 12-2 in an NCAA Tournament elimination game at Alex Rodriguez Park.

Similar to its opener on Friday night against No. 25 Stony Brook, Miami fell behind early and could not recover. The Bears plated seven runs in the bottom of the first, chasing junior lefthander Steven Ewing out of the game after only 2/3 of an inning. The Orlando, Fla. native, coming off an impressive eight-inning stint at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship in Greensboro, N.C., was charged all seven of those runs in the shortest start of his career.

The Bears sent 11 batters to the plate in the decisive frame, as six different players recorded hits. A two-RBI double from Keenen Maddox opened the scoring in the Bears’ favor, while Derek Mattea, Joey Hawkins and Spiker Helms all added RBI singles before Ewing was pulled. A passed ball charged to Garrett Kennedy from reliever Javi Salas plated Hawkins as the seventh and final run of the frame.

With a new-look line-up, the Hurricanes opened up the contest by connecting for back-to-back hits off Bears’ righthander Pierce Johnson (4-6). Junior shortstop Stephen Perez ripped a single through the rightside in the game’s first at-bat, while junior outfielder Chantz Mack connected on a flare that dropped in front of centerfielder Spiker Helms. The senior would catch Perez trying to advance to third on the play, however, effectively ending the threat as the Hurricanes failed to convert.

After recording the first out of the game on a groundout to the shortstop, the typically-dominant Ewing struggled. The junior lefthander, who cited his inability to throw strikes as the cause for his demise, threw 33 pitches before getting the hook from Head Coach Jim Morris. Salas, Eric Whaley, Adam Sargent and AJ Salcines were all used in relief, as the latter two combined for 2.2 scoreless innings to end the game. Unfortunately for Miami, the early Bears’ lead was too much to surmount.

Trailing Missouri State 9-0 heading into the top of the third, the Hurricanes regained some momentum with two runs of their own. After freshman infielder Alexander Fernandez opened the inning with a walk, Perez connected for his second hit of the game on a double laced to right-center that advanced Fernandez to third. A groundout from Mack and a single to left field from Peter O’Brien would trim the Bears’ lead to 9-2.

That would be as close as Miami would get, however, as Johnson put on another impressive performance for the Bears. The junior allowed only one hit after the third inning, setting down 11 Hurricanes in row at one point, while guiding the Bears to a season-saving victory. Missouri State will face the loser of Saturday night’s UCF/Stony Brook game on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.