Texas is ranked No. 4 in the current Baseball America poll while the Hurricanes check in at No. 8.
Texas (48-18) is making an NCAA record 30th CWS appearance while Miami (44-15-1) is in Omaha for the 20th time. Texas has notched five national championships and is contending for the schools first consecutive CWS titles since 1949-50. The Longhorns bring a .305 team batting average to Omaha and are averaging seven runs per game.
Texas and Miami have a dead-even 19-19 overall series record.
The post-season mark stands at 4-4, but the Hurricanes had the last laugh. Miami upended Texas, 10-6, to win the schools second national championship in 1985. Miami has clinched four national championships, including the last two trips to Rosenblatt (2001, 1999). The Hurricanes won their first CWS in 1982.
Saturday Bracket: SW Missouri State vs. Rice; Miami vs. Texas
If Texas wins, it will play the SW Missouri State-Rice survivor at 6 p.m. (Central) on Monday. If the unthinkable happens, Texas will play the SW Missouri State-Rice loser at 1 p.m. (Central) Monday. Should Texas open CWS play with a 2-0 mark, the Horns would be slated for a 6 p.m. contest on Wednesday.
It is a double elimination tournament. However, the championship game is no longer single elimination but becomes a best-of-three championship series slated for June 21-23.
HOW MIAMI REACHED
The Hurricanes blew into Omaha in dramatic fashion with a pair of riveting wins against North Carolina State in the Coral Gables Super Regional. In Game One, freshman SS Ryan Braun hit two home runs, including the game-winning round-tripper in the ninth during Miamis improbable 10-9 come-from-behind win. The Hurricanes trailed 9-3 in the sixth inning, marking the first time all year the Canes won after trailing so late in the game.
Not to be outdone, Sundays game ended as an 11-inning affair highlighted by C Erick San Pedros grand slam in an 11-5 Hurricane victory. The game lasted four hours and 26 minutes. Pitcher Shawn Valdes-Fauli was credited with both of the wins.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Combining raw talent, a never-say-die attitude and the impetuousness of youth, this is the youngest Hurricane team ever to reach the CWS. There aint a senior in the starting lineup, as Miami will field two freshmen, five sophomores and two juniors in the opening frame against Texas.
Look for junior LHP J.D. Crockett to take the mound against the Burnt Orange. Named this week to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association third-team, Crockett will bring an 11-2 record and a 2.65 ERA in 115.2 innings of work. Texas sophomore J. P. Howell, with a 9-2 mark and 2.34 ERA, should get the starting nod against the Canes.
Meanwhile, Braun leads his team with a .374 batting average, 17 homers and 74 RBI. The freshman was a second-team National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association All-American selection.
This has been an opportunistic Miami team down the stretch, but not the vintage Hurricanes that have won two of the past four CWS. Barring a Texas defensive collapse (and that usually doesnt happen unless Justin Simmons is on the mound), the Canes will keep it too-close-for-comfort but should find their recent ninth inning fireworks severely doused when NCBWA second-team All-American Huston Street is on the mound.
The prediction: Texas continues its mastery of Sunshine State teams for one more week in a pitchers dual. Texas 3, Miami 2.