Jay Will Sign; UM Still Has Weapons

OMAHA, Neb. -- Junior outfielder Jon Jay concluded his three-year career at the University of Miami after an 8-1 loss to Oregon State in the College World Series. Jay is expected to sign a pro contract with the St. Louis Cardinals, who drafted him in the second round earlier this month.

Jon Jay is unsure how soon the signing process will be, but wants to get on the field under a contract as soon as possible.

Jay finished fourth on the all-time UM list with a career batting average of .378.

This year he led the team in average (.361), runs (77), walks (39), on-base pct (.490), stolen bases (31), and OPS (1.010).

Jay came to Coral Gables after a standout career at Christopher Columbus High School in Miami, where he won a 6A Florida State Championship in 2003 with current Hurricane Danny Gil.

Playing for the Hurricanes has been a great experience for Jay.

"It has been the greatest times of my life," Jay said. "It is everything I dreamed of. This is is one of the elite programs out there and I got to do a lot of nice things. Hopefully this experience helps me in my future in life. I got to meet a lot of people."

This season he led the team in batting average

The Miami Hurricanes concluded their improbable run in Omaha after they won their regional for a 13th straight time. Miami became just the fourth team in the last six years to advance to the College World Series without hosting a regional.

"It was a great year we had this year," said Jay as the Canes finished with a 42-24 record. "We grew a lot together and I appreciate the season. I know everyone tried their hardest and left it all out on the field."

Although Jay will leave a void in the UM lineup, he believes the team will be successful as four freshmen starters will be back in 2007.

Led by Jemile Weeks the freshmen--Yonder Alonso, Dennis Raben, and Blake Tekotte--will benefit from playing in Omaha.

"This is great for them," Jay said. This is a great experience for them next year. Having those four guys in the lineup for sure is a great core to build around."

It is uncertain whether juniors Danny Valencia and Eddy Rodriguez will return after being drafted in the 19th and 20th rounds respectively.

However, Roger Tomas will be back at shortstop for his senior year.

"They have a lot of potential for next year," Jay said. "They just need to learn from this year and see what it takes."

Miami head coach Jim Morris always spoke highly of Jay since his freshman season in 2004. Jay feels Morris has been very instrumental in his success as a player.

"He's great," Jay said. "A lot of people can teach how to hit, throw, and run, but he really teaches you the little things in baseball like mentally, which has really helped me out."

Morris has coached a number of current major leaguers including Pat Burrell, Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Varitek, Alex Cora, Kevin Brown, and Danny Graves.

Jay believes playing under Morris will help him in his future as a pro player.

"I have learned a lot from him and I feel that that will be an advantage for me moving up in pro ball," Jay said. "He has been nothing but great to me and I appreciate everything he has done for me at the University of Miami."

Christopher Stock can be reached at stock@canestime.com

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