MIAMI WINS LINCOLN REGIONAL
Miami won three straight game en route to winning their 13th straight NCAA regional. UM was the second-seeded team and did not have to face the top seed and regional host, Nebraska, who went 0-2 in the regionals.
The ‘Canes defeated San Francisco 11-2 in the opening game and advanced to the Super Regionals with two wins over Manhattan, 8-2 and 10-4.
Freshman 2B Jemile Weeks was named the Regional Most Outstanding Player going 7-for-12 with four doubles, four RBI and eight runs scored in the three games.
"When I came in I wanted to get on base as much as possible and hit the ball hard," said Weeks, who was an All-ACC second-team selection. "I love setting the tone and being the leadoff hitter. I think I can get on base all the time. That is what I think in my mind."
The team's ace LHP Scott Maine was saved for the final game and pitched a complete game allowing three earned runs, six hits, and two walks while striking out four. Maine threw 99 pitches in the game and will have five days off before his next start on Saturday.
"The reason we let him finish the game was because it was still a close game," head coach Jim Morris said. "He was pitching really, really well and he didn't throw very many pitches. As long as he is getting them out, let him pitch."
Morris recalled times in his career he has been up 12-1 in the ninth inning and lost as well as an 8-1 lead that evaporated in the ninth that cost his team an appearance in the College World Series.
"It isn't over until its over," Morris said.
ROTATION VS MISSISSIPPI
Morris will send LHP Scott Maine (11-3, 4.37) to the mound in Game 1 of the Super Regionals matchup against Mississippi.
Depending on what the coaching staff learns about the Ole Miss lineup will determine who starts in Game 2 and Game 3.
LHP Manny Miguelez (8-4, 4.01) or RHP Danny Gil (3-2, 3.11) will start in Game 2.
MLB FIRST-YEAR PLAYER DRAFT
Seven Hurricanes were taken in this week's draft including Junior RHP Chris Perez and junior OF Jon Jay who were selected by the St. Louis Cardinals. Perez was taken with the 42nd overall pick in the compensatory round and Jay was taken in the second round, 74th overall.
Junior RHP Ricky Orta was drafted in the fourth round by Seattle. Senior OF Tommy Giles went in the eighth round by the Dodgers.
With Perez and Jay assured hefty signing bonuses, they are very likely to leave UM. Orta, who has a 2-2 record with a 6.18 ERA in 51 innings, is also expected to sign.
In the second day of the draft, junior 3B Danny Valencia was selected by Minnesota in the 19th round. Junior C Eddy Rodriguez, one of three finalists for the Johnny Bench Award, was taken in the 20th round by Cincinnati.
Since both Valencia and Rodriguez are both juniors they have some leverage in their decision-making process. However, it would be a lot easier decision if they were drafted in the first 10 rounds. Neither player was drafted out of high school.
Sophomore LHP Scott Maine was drafted by Colorado in the 23rd round as the final Hurricane taken.
Prior to being selected by Colorado, Maine had no intentions of signing a pro contract unless he was a top draft pick. Being selected later all but assures the team's ace will be back to UM in 2007.
RABEN IS ON A HOT STREAK
Freshman OF/DH Dennis Raben is batting .449 over the last 14 games with three home runs, three doubles, 14 runs scored, and 11 RBI.
"I thought I should be doing this all season and I feel like there is no reason I can't do that," said Raben, who batted .222 in the first 40 games. "I was down on myself all year so it was a little tough, but I am glad things have turned around now."
Raben got things going when he came into the May 6 game against Wright State and picked up two hits in his only two at-bats.
Ever since then, things have been clicking for the former prep star who was his team's MVP every year of high school while attending three different schools.
Currently he is batting .293 on the season and is the team's number five hitter in the lineup.
"Now that I am hitting fifth in the order instead of seventh or eighth I am probably going to be up with guys on base," Raben said. "I just need to try to drive in some runs now that I am in the five hole."
Raben will be a key for the ‘Canes this weekend in the Super Regionals.
"I am looking forward to it," he said. "Two more wins and we go to Omaha. We have been talking about Omaha since fall workouts when we were running up the ramp, the sandpit, during sprints, and all of the hard work you have to do in the off-season."
VALENCIA COMFORTABLE AT THIRD BASE
In the first game of the regionals 3B Danny Valencia had five runs batted in while hitting his seventh home run of the season.
"It was nice," Valencia said. "It is always nice to start off the regional on a good note. It helped me build momentum for the rest of the weekend and I really saw the ball well all weekend."
Valencia, the team's cleanup hitter, is batting .327 with 7 home runs and 51 runs batted in after moving back to third base, his more natural position, after playing first base last season.
"I feel very good at third and confident over there," he said.
After spending his first year at UNC-Greensboro he is in his second year at Miami.
"It has been great here," said Valencia, who is from Boca Raton, Fla. "They have treated me well. I am close to my home. I really like it here. It is a great time and a great experience. I couldn't be any more happy."
GEORGIA TECH ADVANCES
Morris considers Georgia Tech the most talented team the Hurricanes faced this season.
Georgia Tech (48-16) is hosting College of Charleston (46-15) in the Super Regionals after winning three straight at the Atlanta Regional.
"They are a very, very talented team and we may end up playing them again hopefully sometime down the road," said Morris, as the ‘Canes went 1-4 against the Yellow Jackets this year.
The ACC has four teams remaining in the Round-of-16 including Clemson (50-14) who was awarded the number one overall national seed.
"I think the ACC is a great conference," Morris said. "When you go through this league and the ACC tournament, you have gone through a battle. They prepare you to play (in the NCAA tournament)."
Christopher Stock can be reached at email@example.com
Diamond Notes: June 8th
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