CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The first day of hurricane season had meteorologists tracking Tropical Depression Arthur as it weakened off the coast of southeastern Mexico.
While Arthur fatigued and lessened, a storm of a different kind roared and heightened farther east. The 25 Hurricanes stationed in Coral Gables wrecked the Rebels chances for a super regional appearance.
No. 1 overall seed Miami (50-8) ended Ole Miss' season for the second time in three years, as the Hurricanes emphatically dismantled the Rebels 11-2 in the regional finals Sunday. Miami advances to face the winner of the Ann Arbor Regional next weekend in a three-game series at Coral Gables.
"It is tough when it is at the end here, but we just played a very, very good University of Miami baseball team," Mike Bianco said. "I'm proud we got to this point. It has been a crazy year for us. A lot of expectations, early in the year, but for whatever reason, we just seemed to struggle all year.
"The reason I am proud is three weeks ago many people wouldn't have believe we would have been in the regional final against the No. 1 team in the nation."
At 39-26, it is the first time Ole Miss hasn't won at least 40 games since 2004 – which was also the last year UM failed to advance to the super regional round. The Hurricanes defeated the Rebels two games to one in the 2006 Oxford Super Regional.
The loss to the ‘Canes came after the Rebels eliminated Missouri, 9-6, earlier in the day to reach the finals.
"I am sure the kids were tired, but that isn't what happened today," Bianco said. "It wasn't 11-2 because of fatigue."
Miami opened the first inning with three runs and equaled that number in the third frame to put a comfortable cushion between the teams and run Ole Miss starter Nathan Baker.
The southpaw surrendered two home runs and fell to 3-6 after lasting just 2.1 innings and getting knocked around for five earned runs on eight hits.
"I thought Nathan had good stuff, but sometimes in baseball, they are just locked in," Bianco said.
Justin Cryer continued his solid postseason with two runs in 6.2 innings after relieving Baker.
The Hurricanes' Eric Erickson (7-1) picked up the win by working a serviceable seven innings. The left-hander surrendered a two-run longball to Cody Overbeck in the first inning but settled down and tossed his final six innings without Ole Miss scoring. Erickson struckout five and walked one.
"The guy could really locate his offspeed stuff. Not many pitchers can do that," Logan Power said.
Overbeck's home run was his 17th of the year, which puts the junior in a tie for fifth in the school's all-time books with David Dellucci's 1995 season. The record for home runs is 21 shared by Brian Pettway and Jason Huisman in 2005 and 1998 respectively.
Past the first inning, the Rebels never had two baserunners on at the same time.
Cody Satterwhite made his only appearance of the regional during the ninth inning and suffered through three unearned runs because of a throwing error by Tim Ferguson.
No Rebels recorded multiple hits. Overbeck and Power were named to the All-Region team.
"At this point, you just have to win, and we didn't have an answer," Bianco said.
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