Danny Figueroa leaps in vain for a home run hit by Texas' Michael Hollimon in the third inning.
June 17, 2003
By ERIC OLSON
Associated Press Writer
OMAHA, Neb. - Texas' Sam LeCure responded to one of the toughest situations a freshman pitcher could face.
LeCure held Miami to one run over 6 1-3 innings and closer Huston Street retired all seven batters he faced as the Longhorns beat Miami 5-1 Tuesday night to stay alive at the College World Series.
The Longhorns (50-19) eliminated Miami (45-17-1) and will play Rice on Wednesday. Texas would have to win twice against Rice (55-11), which is 2-0 in the CWS, to reach the best-of-three championship series that begins Saturday.
The Longhorns lost 12-2 to Rice on Monday, and the defending national champions would have been sent packing if they had lost to Miami on Tuesday.
"I want to be that guy who goes out there when the team needs a win," LeCure said. "I like that pressure on my shoulders."
Coach Augie Garrido liked what he saw when LeCure turned in a similar performance against Texas A&M to stave off elimination at the Big 12 postseason tournament. Garrido said that outing swayed him to give LeCure the ball against Miami.
Garrido said LeCure's competitiveness rubbed off on the team, which played error-free defense.
"You could see he was going to pitch with no fear," Garrido said.
LeCure's self-confidence was apparent in the way he operated.
"The pitch that makes the difference is his slider," Garrido said. "Tonight he shook off fastballs and threw the breaking ball when he needed a strike."
Street picked up his 14th save of the season and became the first pitcher to record five saves in his career at the CWS.
The Longhorns managed only six hits, but four Miami pitchers issued eight walks.
Both Miami losses at the CWS were to Texas, which won 13-2 on Saturday.
"Tonight was a better game," Hurricanes coach Jim Morris said, "but we gave them too many opportunities with walks and didn't get any hits with runners on base."
LeCure (5-0) allowed seven hits, walked one and struck out two. The only run he gave up came on Brian Barton's RBI double in the sixth.
Texas scored three times against Miami starter Brandon Camardese (9-2) in the third inning. Michael Hollimon hit his third homer of the season leading off the inning, and Dustin Majewski later doubled in two more runs.
The Longhorns came away with no runs after loading the bases with one out in the fifth. But they loaded them again in the sixth against Alex Blanco and scored on Tim Moss' single off Shawn Valdes-Fauli and Omar Quintanilla's sacrifice fly.
"I was working hard every pitch, and I was physically drained," LeCure said. "Normally I'd argue to stay in the game. But with them having runners on base and us not having a commanding lead, it was best for Huston to come in and do the job."
Street, the 2002 CWS Most Outstanding Player, came on to strike out Adam Ricks looking on a 2-2 slider. He then set down the Hurricanes in order in the eighth and ninth to preserve Texas' victory.
Street appeared in all four of Texas' games here last year. He didn't pitch in either of the Longhorns' games before Tuesday.
"I really wanted us to get wins any way possible," he said. "If that takes me to pitch, that's fine. If not, that's probably better."