Diamond Notes: May 31

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- The Miami Hurricanes are preparing for their NCAA-record 34th consecutive appearance in the postseason and have won 13 straight Regionals including 12 under head coach Jim Morris.


RHP Danny Gil (2-2, 3.44 ERA) will start the first game against San Francisco. Gil has 33 appearances this year, but will be making his third start of the year and his first since February 12.

Gil picked up his first win of the season in his second start against UCLA. He gave up one run on two hits in five innings while striking out five and walking three.

In his first start of the year on February 5 he picked up the loss allowing three runs, two earned in four innings as he gave up six hits, struck out three, and walked a batter.

"He pitched well enough to stay in the rotation, but we felt like we had to take him out to get him in the bullpen because we had to have someone in the bullpen and not because he didn't pitch well as a starter," Morris said.

In his three-year career at UM he has made 86 appearances with just two starts. He has a career ERA of 3.80 with a 12-5 record.


With Gil as a starter, RHP Jon McLean takes over as the team's setup man for closer Chris Perez.

McLean has a 4.11 ERA in 30 2/3 innings while striking out 20 and walking eight. He has held opponents to a .227 batting average after missing the beginning of the season due to a groin injury.

LHP Andrew Lane will still be used to get left-handed batters out while McLean will be extended in the bullpen.


With Gil getting the start in game one, Morris re-assured reporters that LHP Scott Maine (10-3, 4.53 ERA) is the team's ace.

"We have always rolled the dice every year since I have been here and not starter our number one guy," said Morris, who has won all 12 Regionals he has been in at Miami.

According to Morris, LHP Manny Miguelez (7-4, 4.17 ERA) is the team's number two pitcher with Gil as the third guy. RHP Marcelo Albir (0-1, 5.71 ERA) made his first start of the season last week and is the team's fourth starter.

"Depending upon who we are playing that will make the decision on who we are pitching," Morris said.

RHP Ricky Orta (2-2, 6.43 ERA) has been too inconsistent this year to earn Morris' confidence late in the season, but could be used if the team is in a pinch and they need a fifth starter.


RHP Carlos Gutierrez, the team's ace for the majority of the season, will miss the rest of the season and will have Tommy John surgery that will force him out of the 2007 as well.

Gutierrez, a sophomore, finished the '06 season with a 9-6 record and a 4.08 ERA in 16 starts.

He is expected to make the trip to Lincoln this weekend to be with his teammates.


"Nebraska is a very tough place to play," Morris said. "Every game will be sold out. There will be 8,000 screaming people and they all love to hate us."

The University of Nebraska faithful probably still remembers the heartaches Miami has gave them over the years on the football field.

Miami has defeated Nebraska to win three national championships including a 37-14 victory to win the 2001 title.

"It's not a very popular place for the University of Miami, that's for sure," Morris added.


San Francisco, ranked 25th in the Baseball America poll, will be participating in their first ever Regional.

The winners of the West Coast Conference regular season title come into the tournament with a 38-21 record.

They are led by LHP/OF Scott Cousins who was the WCC Player of the Year.

Cousins will start the first game against Miami with a 4-2 record and a 3.40 ERA. He also leads the team with a .357 batting average and 21 stolen bases.


Freshman OF Dennis Raben, who has a bone spur in his foot, has been a bright spot in the Hurricanes lineup recently.

Raben has been one of the team's hottest players at the end of the season including a 4-for-8 performance in the final two games of the ACC tournament batting in the five hole.

He originally was inserted back in the lineup in left field late in the year after fellow freshman Blake Tekotte hit a dry spell. But in the last two games Raben and Tekotte have both been in the linup while Richard O'Brien, the team's desiginated hitter, has been out.

All three players will be participating in their first NCAA Regional. 2B Jemile Weeks, OF Tommy Giles, and 1B Yonder Alonso will also be appearing in their first Regional.

Christopher Stock can be reached at stock@canestime.com

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