UM Departs for South Carolina

The 2002 NCAA Gainesville Champion University of Miami Hurricanes (33-27) depart Wednesday for this weekend's NCAA Super Regional against national No. 6 seed South Carolina Gamecocks (51-15) at Sarge Frye Field.

The best-of-three Super Regional games are scheduled for 7 p.m. starts on Friday and Saturday and 1:30 p.m., if necessary, on Sunday.

Miami's 2002 NCAA tournament appearance can be heard over the Internet at , or on the student voice of the Hurricanes, WVUM 90.5 FM. The flagship stations of the Miami Hurricanes, Sports Radio 560 WQAM and UM's Spanish Broadcast Network will also be covering the action.

Last weekend, Miami claimed the Gainesville Regional championship with a thrilling game two bottom of the ninth rally to defeat host and top-seed Florida, 8-7, to advance.

The tournament opened with Miami defeating cross-town rival Florida International, 9-1, followed by a 7-2 victory over the Gators to advance to the regional championship game. UF then defeated Bethune-Cookman to emerge from the loser's bracket and the right to play the Hurricanes for the title.

In the first game on Sunday, Miami rallied on Florida in the top of the ninth to tie the game, 10-10, on Jim Burt's two-out three-run homer, but UF's Mark Kiger hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th for a 11-10 Gator win and a decisive game two.

In the championship game it was Burt again who provided the late heroics as he sealed Miami's comeback with a bottom of the ninth, two-out, two-strike, walk-off two-run double to the gap in right center to win the game 8-7.

South Carolina, the national No. 6 seed, won its regional by defeating North Carolina, 3-1, also in a deciding game two. The Tar Heels were able to force the do-or-die meeting with an 8-4 win over the Gamecocks earlier in the day. USC opened its regional by defeating Virginia Commonwealth, 6-3, then UNC, 9-6, to advance to Sunday.

Miami is making its 31st postseason appearance since 1971, including a NCAA-record 30 straight since 1973. Miami has a 141-63 (.691) all-time record in the postseason, including a 5-2 (.714) all-time Super Regional record. On the road in the postseason, UM holds a 73-53 (.579) record. UM has played one road Super Regional at Tallahassee in 2000, where it lost two games to one.

Under Head Coach Jim Morris the Hurricanes have won all nine NCAA regional appearances since 1994, as well as advancing to the College World Series in seven of his eight previous seasons.

Miami is one of six teams nationally that have advanced to the Super Regional round in each of the four seasons of the current format. Joining UM in the feat are Florida State, Clemson, LSU, Southern California and Stanford.

Following the NCAA Gainesville Regional championship, the Hurricanes were thrown back into the nation's Top 25 in two polls, Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America. Miami was ranked 17th by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and 20th by Baseball America. Miami has not been ranked in those two outlets weekly polls for the past 12 weeks or since being ranked 23rd by Baseball America and 24th by Collegiate Baseball on March 11.

The Hurricanes led all participants with six players selected to the All-Tournament team, ahead of host Florida (5), Bethune-Cookman (1) and FIU (0). Chosen from Miami were Danny Matienzo (C), Javy Rodriguez (2B), Jim Burt (OF), Brad Safchik (DH), Kevin Howard (UT) and Kiki Bengochea (P). Matienzo has been an All-Regional pick each of his three seasons at Miami, while Rodriguez has been on the last two.

Miami leads the all-time series with South Carolina, 22-6, dating back to the 1974 NCAA District III Regional in Starkville, MS. The Hurricanes and Gamecocks have met six times in the postseason, with UM holding the 5-1 advantage. Most recently, UM defeated visiting USC, 14-2, during 1998 regional play in Coral Gables. Miami has played eight games in Columbia, SC with a 7-1 record in those contests.

With the 2002 regional bid, Miami extended its NCAA-record postseason streak to 30 straight since 1973. The Miami streak is the second largest among collegiate baseball, football and basketball. Nebraska's current football bowl streak is at 33 games, and last fell to Miami in the Rose Bowl.

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