THE GAME AT A GLANCE
Turning Point: Miami scored twice in the first inning, but sucked the fight out of Oregon State in the second when right fielder Tommy Giles ripped a bases-loaded double that short hopped the wall in left-center field. All three runners that scored had reached on walks, and at that early stage the 5-0 Hurricanes lead looked likely to stand up.
The Hero: After Jemile Weeks became the offensive star of the super-regional victory at Mississippi, fellow freshman Dennis Raben decided he was ready to make a big impact. The DH drove in two runs with a first-inning double and blasted a two-run home run in the fourth inning. He also walked in the third as part of a 2-for-4 day that included four RBIs.
You May Not Have Noticed: While Miami’s runners circled the bases with impunity, Oregon State only had one runner reach third base through the first seven innings. Just three reached second base. That’s because the early Hurricanes runs allowed starter Scott Maine to relax and fill up the strike zone. Maine, who allowed three first-inning runs against Mississippi and three runs over the first two innings against Manhattan in the regional, retired the first five batters he faced en route to throwing seven scoreless innings.
OMAHA–The last time Miami made the trip to Nebraska, it was an underdog–a No. 2 seed in the Lincoln regional that was supposed to be nothing more than a brief stop along national No. 6 seed Nebraska’s inevitable road to the College World Series.
Instead, those pesky Hurricanes emerged as winners of the regional, though it was easy to again dismiss their chances in a super-regional against Mississippi because they hadn’t even faced the Cornhuskers in their weekend in Lincoln, beating instead Manhattan and San Francisco.
Even after the Hurricanes went down to Oxford, Miss., and punched their ticket to Omaha, they carried an underdog label into their CWS opener against an experienced Oregon State team on Saturday night.
Not that Miami cared.
The Canes jumped on OSU starter Dallas Buck for five runs in the first two innings en route to an 11-1 laugher in front of 25,417 at Rosenblatt Stadium.
“We played the game tonight about as well as we can play it,” Miami coach Jim Morris said.
DH Dennis Raben started the onslaught with a two-run double in the first inning and added a two-run homer in the fifth. In between, right fielder Tommy Giles broke the game open with a three-run double off the base of the wall in left-center field in the second inning.
“It was probably the worst game I’ve ever pitched,” Buck said. “Pretty bad time for it.”
Buck (12-3) was roughed up for seven earned runs on seven hits and three walks over five innings, and his Miami counterpart Scott Maine was brilliant. The Beavers (44-15) managed just four hits against the lefthander over seven innings before an eighth-inning rain delay ended his night.
Maine (12-3) allowed only one runner past second base, when Tyler Graham doubled and advanced on a fielder’s choice in the second, but Oregon State never mounted a serious threat against him.
“Getting the early lead definitely helps a lot to take some pressure off,” Maine said. “My command of all my pitches was very good today. My curveball was good, for once. I felt really good, and the guys putting up more runs throughout the game definitely helps.”
Miami (42-22) tacked on four more runs in the top of the eighth after a one-hour, 34-minute rain delay. Jon Jay’s bases-loaded triple highlighted that coup de grace. Miami became the first team to score in double figures in the last 24 CWS games.
Now the Hurricanes face No. 2 national seed Rice.
“Again, we’re the underdog, which has been pretty good so far,” Morris said.