Miami to the Lincoln Regional

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Miami head coach Jim Morris was worried his team was not going to make the NCAA tournament after a "very reliable source" had called him 10 minutes before the announcement was made and told him the Hurricanes did not get selected in the 64-team field.

Luckily for Morris his source, who works for ESPN and is well connected within the college baseball community, the Hurricanes were selected as the number two seed in the Lincoln Regional.

"I was scared to death standing there thinking we were not getting in," Morris said. "I couldn't believe that, but you never know. Crazy things can happen."

It is only the second time since 1996 that the Hurricanes are not hosting a Regional as Nebraska (42-15) will host the four-team double-elimination field, which includes San Francisco (38-21) and Manhattan (32-21).

Getting to Omaha for the College World Series will be a challenge for Miami (36-21). In the past five years, only three of the last 40 teams that have advanced to Omaha did not host a regional.

However, Morris was quick to point out that his team has a better winning percentage on the road, than at home. He also added that the 2001 National Championship team lost just one game on the road all season.

"It is harder (on the road), no question about it," said Morris, who has never lost a Regional at Miami in 12 years. "But you can win on the road and we try to prepare our team all year to be ready for road games."

Miami will face San Francisco in the first game on Friday and will likely send left-handed pitcher Manny Miguelez (7-4, 4.17 ERA) to the mound as the team's ace, Scott Maine (10-3, 4.53 ERA) will be saved for a potential matchup against Nebraska.

"Have we ever started our number one guy? The answer is no," said Morris, in response to a reporter's question regarding the starter in the first game. "It doesn't matter if we come in second, third, or fourth. We have got to come in first. We have got to figure out how to pitch our guys by looking at the teams and figure out how to go about it to win the tournament."

Last season Nebraska defeated Miami in two games in the Super Regionals, also in Lincoln, to advance to the College World Series.

"This is why you play, to play in these type of games," said Jon Jay, the team's top hitter with a .351 batting average. "This is where the real guys come out to play."

Christopher Stock can be reached at stock@canestime.com

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