Miami's Jim Burt points to the sky as he rounds the bases following his home run against Southwest Missouri State in the sixth inning of a CWS elimination game in Omaha.
June 16, 2003
By ERIC OLSON
Associated Press Writer
OMAHA, Neb. - Vince Bongiovanni didn't have time to get nervous about his first College World Series start.
It wasn't until about 12 hours before Monday's elimination game against Southwest Missouri State that the Miami sophomore got the call from coach Jim Morris.
Miami (45-16-1) will play Tuesday against the loser of the Rice-Texas matchup later Monday. SMS (40-26) went two games and out in its first trip to the College World Series.
"Vince pitched the best game of his career in what was a pressure situation," Morris said.
Morris' original plan was to pitch sophomore left-hander Brandon Camardese (9-1) in Miami's second CWS game.
But after watching Rice right-hander Jeff Niemann hold SMS to one hit through eight innings of the Owls' 4-2 first-round win, Morris decided to go with the right-handed Bongiovanni against a Bears lineup that has seven righties.
"A fastball guy was really good against them on Saturday," Morris said, "so I could save Camardese and pitch him the next game."
SMS got its leadoff man on base in the first five innings but managed only two runs off Bongiovanni.
"I was able to settle down and get a lot of key ground balls," said Bongiovanni (8-4), who scattered nine hits, walked one and struck out four.
Miami took a 6-2 lead into the eighth inning, but it was a one-run game after Shaun Marcum's three-run homer into the left-field bleachers off Huguet.
Vince pitched the best game of his career in what was a pressure situation.
Head coach Jim Morris
Valdes-Fauli came on and got pinch-hitter Scott Nasby to ground out, ending the inning.
The Hurricanes added a run in the ninth on Brian Barton's RBI single. Then Valdes-Fauli finished off the Bears by striking out Dant'e Brinkley and Brooks Colvin and getting Rick Wilson on a comebacker. Valdes-Fauli earned his fifth save.
Brad Ziegler (12-2) took the loss, allowing seven hits and four runs in six innings. Only two of the runs against him were earned.
Down 4-2 in the seventh, the Bears threatened in the seventh but couldn't score.
Adam Pummill and pinch-hitter Jacob Hilgendorf led off with singles to chase Bongiovanni. Huguet kept it a two-run game by getting Brinkley to hit into a double play and striking out Colvin.
SMS coach Keith Guttin said he never considered having Brinkley put down a sacrifice bunt to move Pummill and Hilgendorf into scoring position.
"We've been in that situation several times," Guttin said. "I don't sacrifice him. Dant'e is our best hitter. I don't second-guess that decision."
The Hurricanes went up 6-2 in the eighth on Hooft's run-scoring single off reliever Bob Zimmermann and Erick San Pedro's RBI groundout.
For SMS, the loss ended a run through the NCAA tournament highlighted by winning a regional at Nebraska and a super regional at Ohio State.
"The last four weeks have been great," Marcum said. "We've had our ups and downs, and the last two days have been down."