The loss marked the culmination of Miami’s first 50-win season since 2008, a year included the Hurricanes’ second straight ACC Coastal Division title and 24th College World Series trip in program history.
“I’m proud of our guys,” head coach Jim Morris said. “They’ve worked very hard the entire season. I feel like our group was a close-knit group that stuck together, and ended up one of the top teams in the country. I’m proud of what they’ve accomplished.”
Florida chased Miami starter Enrique Sosa after just one inning, while Miami’s offense struggled to get anything going off Florida righthander Alex Faedo until late in front of 24,033.
The Hurricanes, who topped Arkansas 4-3 Monday night in their first elimination game, were making their first since CWS trip since 2008 and first-ever visit to TDAPO.
“I appreciate getting back here probably more than any other time I’ve been here except, maybe that first year – because I hadn’t been here before that time,” Morris said. “But I respect how hard it is. It’s gotten harder every year.”
A solo home run from Gators leadoff hitter Harrison Bader opened the game, while Buddy Reed followed with a two-run home run to right off Sosa (7-5) to pad Florida’s first-inning lead to 3-0.
“What every team wants to do is jump out in front,” team captain Willie Abreu said. “But we’re not a team that usually gets down on ourselves. We’re a pretty live and active group. So we didn’t let that bring us down.”
The Hurricanes (50-17) received an effective cameo from redshirt junior lefthander Andrew Suarez, who entered in the second inning after starting against the Gators in the team’s CWS opener last Friday.
Suarez escaped a bases-loaded jam with no damage in the second, beginning a stretch of seven in a row retired before a leadoff double from Bader in the fifth.
But back-to-back Florida singles signaled the end of Suarez’ relief outing after 3.0+ innings, and the Gators struck for four runs in the decisive frame, including three charged to Suarez, to bump their lead to 7-0.
“We felt we could patch it together,” Morris said. “If we could get [Sosa] to throw a few innings, Suarez and the bullpen have been very good all year. We hoped to patch things together and make it happen to get a win. But it didn’t work out.”
Miami’s first hit off Faedo (6-1) came on a George Iskenderian double in the fourth inning.
“We didn’t do what we had to do as a club offensively to swing the bat,” Morris said.
Back-to-back singles from Christopher Barr and Iskenderian in the sixth prompted a Florida pitching change, as Kirby Snead entered the game in relief. Junior David Thompson reached on a Florida error that scored two runs, bumping Thompson’s season RBI total to 90 – just the second time a Hurricane has ever reached the milestone – and cutting the Florida lead to 8-2.
“Our goal was to nick away any way we could, just try and get guys on and drive them in like we have all year,” Iskenderian said.
That was as close as Miami would get, however, as the Gators (51-17) added a pair of runs on a Peter Alonso seventh-inning homer to seal the victory.
“We ended up one of the top teams in the country, and I’m proud of what they’ve accomplished,” Morris said. “I’d like to win a ring, no question about that. But I’m proud of what they’ve done and where we got to.”