Canes Leave for Omaha

University of Miami baseball coach Jim Morris doesn't have very fond memories of the 1996 College World Series. Just ask him. "Anytime you lose it hurts, but that one was really tough," says Morris. "We were so close we could taste it."

The Hurricanes were one out away from capturing the national championship, but then Louisiana State second baseman Warren Morris hit a game-winning two-run homer off Robbie Morrison to give the Tigers a 9-8 victory.

It's been almost eight years since that gut-wrenching conclusion to the CWS for Morris. But the No. 3 Hurricanes (50-11) will have a chance at revenge when they face the Tigers (46-17) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha.

Miami, making its 21st CWS appearance in school history, punched a ticket for Omaha after taking two straight games from Florida in the Super Regionals. The Hurricanes, who haven't lost since May 16 against North Carolina, enter the CWS on a 12-game winning streak.

The Hurricanes are averaging over 11 runs a game in the postseason.

"Coach (Morris) always says you want to be playing your best baseball at the end of the season and I think we're doing that," said junior catcher Erick San Pedro. "I think everything is coming together for us at the right time."

After rallying over the Gators in game one Miami closed the series thanks to a stellar pitching performance from sophomore right-hander Cesar Carrillo and clutch hitting from right fielder Richard Giannotti. Carrillo (11-0, 2.73) recorded a career-high nine strikeouts in route to a complete game effort, while Giannotti hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the fifth inning.

The four-time National Champion ('82, '85, '99, '01) Hurricanes, who are 44-32 all-time in the CWS, wouldn't object to a few more performances like that in Omaha.

"Everybody is watching so guys just have to relax and focus on each play," says San Pedro. "But I know there's guys on this team ready to step up."

The Tigers were knocked out of last year's CWS after two games. But with seven starting players making a return trip to Omaha the Tigers like their chances.

"I think what happened to these guys last year is going to help them this time around," says LSU coach Smoke Laval.

Miami leads the all-time series 11-7.

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