Danny Figueroa Named MOP of Regional

A year ago Danny Figueroa was watching his ‘Canes. He sat in the dugout as they won the Coral Gables Regional. And continued to watch when Miami beat Florida in the Super Regional to advance to the College World Series.

He could only watch his family get sent home early after losing to South Carolina, finishing fifth.

What a difference a year makes.

"It was real tough," Figueroa said. "I had to support my teammates however I could, but it was real tough not being able to play, to contribute."

Danny Figueroa underwent Tommy John surgery and had a shoulder injury as well that kept him out the entire year. Tommy John surgery is generally done on pitchers, but Figueroa had to undergo the yearlong rehabilitation to get back into the swing of things.

And that he has done emphatically.

But never more so than what Figueroa accomplished this past weekend in the Coral Gables Regional where he was named the Regional's Most Outstanding Player.

Figueroa was a menace this past weekend to all opponents. He not only go on base, but he made life miserable for opposing pitchers.

He was 8-for-12 with two walks, six runs scored, four RBI, and hit a two-run home run in Saturday's 4-1 over Mississippi State that put UM in the driver's seat to capture the regional which it did Sunday with a 10-4 win over Mississippi State that he spearheaded.

He also was six-for-six in stolen bases, as Bulldogs' pitchers will return to Starkville having nightmares of the havoc he caused on the base paths.

"My goal is get on bases and put my team in a position to score some runs," he said. "I was able to do that this weekend."

But more than get on base, Figueroa has helped bring back the swagger the ‘Canes lost during their six-game losing streak to finish out the regular season and the ACC Tournament.

He led of each game getting on base, and incredibly enough, each was an infield single to short.

Said Mississippi State coach Ron Polk after the Bulldogs 4-1 loss, "Figueroa was on base five times tonight. If you take him and Cesar Carrillo out of the line up, we probably win the game."

With Nebraska on the horizon and a trip to Lincoln coming this week, it's something Figueroa is greatly looking forward to as Omaha, the team's final destination goal is less than an hour away.

"Nebraska is known not to like us cause of football," Figueroa said. "Now it will be in baseball too. It's our time to shine."

For Figueroa who has experienced the ultimate low not being able to play the sport he loves and has played since he was a kid, and going through high school just around the corner at Gulliver Prep, to watch his teammates play in the CWS and come up short, he won't let any moment pass him by.

"I treat every at-bat like it's my last," Figueroa said. "With the tradition we have here, we play with our balls to the wall and take care of business."

And business for Figueroa and his ‘Canes' teammates is good.

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