Playing for keeps

Maybe, just maybe, the University of Miami and Texas baseball programs could not let the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. conclude without having a say. Or two.

It will be a survivor's game tonight (8 p.m. ESPN) at Rosenblatt Stadium as the Hurricanes (45-16-1) and Longhorns (49-19) will resume a long and storied history in CWS history. Miami, who remained in the double-elimination tournament with a 7-5 victory over Southwest Missouri State Monday afternoon, will face the Longhorns for the second time in four days in a loser's bracket game.

The winner will keep their fading hopes of capturing the national championship alive and advance to play Rice at 7 p.m. tomorrow night, while the loser will pack up and head home for the summer.

"Something inside of me was telling me this was going to happen. We can't seem to shake off those Florida teams," said Texas coach Augie Garrido, whose team earned a spot in the CWS after sweeping then No. 1 Florida State in the super regional. "But nobody promised it was going to be easy. Whoever wins will have earned it. I can tell you that."

Especially when it involves Miami and Texas.

In 1981, the Longhorns eliminated the Hurricanes from the CWS with a 5-4 victory, but the following season Miami countered by disposing of Texas before going on to win the school's first baseball national title. Miami doubled the pleasure in 1985 with two victories over the Longhorns, including in the championship game to win the national title. All this after Texas had defeated Miami earlier in the series.

Texas eliminated Miami in the 1989 CWS before being bounced out by LSU. This time around it's Miami that might be looking for a little pay revenge.

The defending national champion Longhorns already own a victory over the Hurricanes in the 2003 CWS in what turned out to be one of Miami's poorest performances in recent memory.

Texas took advantage of five UM errors, including two by freshman third baseman Gaby Sanchez, in route to a 10-run outburst against Canes starter J. D. Cockroft and a 13-2 victory. Shortstop Omar Quintanilla and leftfielder Eric Sultemeier accounted five of the six runs in the second with home runs.

But UT tumbled into the loser's bracket after getting drilled 12-2 by Rice on Monday. Seven Texas pitchers combined for nine walks and four hit-batsmen, both matching CWS records. The defeat was the Longhorns' most lopsided in CWS history since suffering an 11-run loss to Arizona in 1963.

Quintanilla has accounted for 73 runs scored and 74 RBI in the last 74 games, while senior Dustin Majewski has hit safely in 26 of 30 career postseason games and .522 with runners in scoring position this season.

After being held to seven hits by Texas on Saturday, the Hurricanes offense rebounded with seven runs and 12 hits in yesterday's victory over Rice. Sanchez was 2-for-5 with two runs scored. First baseman Jim Burt, mired in a 0-for-16 side in the postseason, had two hits, including a home run in the top of the sixth.

The Hurricanes weary pitching staff received a lift from starting right-hander Vince Bongiovanni, who allowed two runs in six innings. Closer Shawn Valdes-Fauli recorded the final four outs of the game to record a save.

Miami will call on left-hander Brandon Camardese (9-1, 4.95 ERA) tonight against Texas, while the Longhorns will counter with J. Brent Cox (6-0, 2.11). Camardese allowed one run on two hits in game two of the super regional against N. C. State in his last outing.

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