Jay Leads Team Into Regionals

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Jon Jay, a three-year starter in the outfield, is preparing to help lead the Hurricanes in the NCAA tournament beginning on Friday in Lincoln, Neb. against San Francisco. Miami has won 13 consecutive Regionals.

Jon Jay is coming off a 5-for-10 performance in the ACC tournament including hitting his fifth home run of the season.

Jay currently leads the team with a .351 batting average after leading the team last year with .408 average. As a freshman in 2004, he finished third on the team with a .368 average.

His career average of .376 ranks fourth on the all-time list at UM.

In addition to leading the 'Canes in batting average, he also leads the team in stolen bases (26), walks (35), and on-base percent (.488).

His 21 times he was hit by a pitch set a new single-season record at UM.

"I am just trying to do whatever I can to help this team," Jay said. "Whether it is getting hits, making a play in the outfield, or steal bases. I am going to continue to do that.

The Hurricanes will have five hitters in the lineup making their first appearance in the NCAA tournament. Jay, who has played in 180 games including 13 NCAA tournament games, will be counted on to provide leadership for the team.

"I am just going to preach this week to go out there and have fun and play the same way we have all season, but now the spotlight is on us," he said. "Now is when we have to come through."

With Nebraska receiving the sixth national seed, they will be tough to beat at Haymarker Park.

Last year Nebraska ended Miami's season with a 2-0 sweep in the Super Regionals.

"From what I remember last year they had a good pitching staff and they got timely hits, which we didn't do last year," said Jay, who was 3-for-8 against the Huskers.

The two games against Nebraska had featured an average attendance of over 8,500 fans. Miami's home attendance average this year was 1,768.

"I don't really remember the fans last year," "I kind of blocked that out. I remember it was a nice stadium and I am looking forward to going up there."

With the Hurricanes entering Regional play with a 24-2 record in their last 26 Regional games, they know this is their time of year.

"It is a new season for us," Jay said. "We just have to go out there and play our game. As long as pitch, play defense, and hit we will be all right. We can't worry about who we play. Playoff time is all about getting it done."

"This is why you play, to play in these type of games," he added. "This is fun times and this is where the real guys come out to play."

NOTES: Miami is 5-5 in their last 10 games...LHP Scott Maine will start in the second game assuming Nebraska wins their first game...LHP Manny Miguelez is the likely starter in game one...RHP Danny Gil is a strong candidate to earn his third start of the season at some point in the Regionals...OF Dennis Raben has a bone spur in his foot that will require surgery after the season, but is expected to finish out the year.

Christopher Stock can be reached at stock@canestime.com

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