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Off to Omaha

Hurricanes set to do battle at College World Series

By: Pravin Patel // Sports Editor

Issue date: 7/8/08 Section: Sports
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Jimmy Graham, Brian Asbury and James Dews go up for a rebound during the Marlyand game on Saturday afternoon.
Media Credit: Morgan Cantrell
Jimmy Graham, Brian Asbury and James Dews go up for a rebound during the Marlyand game on Saturday afternoon.

A record setting season has come to fruition, as the No. 1 University of Miami Hurricanes' baseball team (52-9) defeated the Arizona Wildcats, 4-2, in the deciding game of a three game series at their NCAA Super Regional. With the win, the Hurricanes have set themselves up for a date with the No. 8 Georgia Bulldogs in their first game of the 2008 College World Series.

The Hurricanes have been a force all season, posting a school-best 43-8 regular season record, claiming the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship and holding the No. 1 ranking for much of the regular season.

Behind a dynamic offense that features five first team All-ACC members - including three All-Americans - and a formidable pitching staff that includes a first team All-ACC member and two second team All-ACC members, including the ACC and National Freshman of the Year and an All-American, the Hurricanes won all but one series during the regular season.

The Canes wrapped up the regular season as the No. 2 team in the nation, after dropping their only series during the final week of the regular season to the then-No. 2 University of North Carolina.

This didn't faze the team, as they went about their business, taking care of Clemson, Georgia Tech and North Carolina State, before defeating Virginia for the ACC Championship.

This allowed the Hurricanes to emerge as the No. 1 team, heading into the NCAA Tournament, and it allowed them to open up Regional play at home. The Hurricanes went to work, beating Bethune-Cookman, Missouri and Mississippi, which allowed them to advance to and host a Super Regional series against Arizona.

After a heart-breaking extra inning loss in the first game of a three game series, the Hurricanes found themselves against the ropes, in need of two straight wins. The Hurricanes responded to the challenge, winning the next two to advance to the College World Series.

With the series wrapped up, the Hurricanes are now one of eight teams left in the hunt for a National Championship. The Hurricanes find themselves pitted against a strong Georgia team in the first game of the College World Series.

The Hurricanes boast a team that features eight players who were drafted in the recent Major League Baseball draft, including three first round picks, while the Bulldogs had six players selected, including two first round picks and their entire starting rotation. The matchup features a Hurricane team that is an offense juggernaut and a Georgia team that features dominant pitching.

The winner will go on to face the winner of the Florida State/Stanford game, while the loser will be one loss away from elimination, facing the loser of the Florida State/Stanford game for their postseason life.

The Hurricanes have a tough road ahead of them, but they have played up to the challenge all season. There is no doubt that this team is loaded with talent, and they have the killer instinct. Now all that remains is for the Hurricanes to make one final push toward a National Championship.

Pravin Patel may be contacted at p.patel7@umiami.edu.
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