Top-seeded Miami was unable to finish off the Coral Gables Regional Sunday night at Mark Light Field, falling to No. 3 seed Columbia 3-0 and forcing a winner-advance Game 7 to be played Monday.
Columbia, who eliminated FIU with a 4-3 win earlier in the afternoon, tamed the Hurricanes’ talented lineup to stave off elimination for a second straight game.
“First of all, we lost in every phase of the game tonight,” head coach Jim Morris said. “Columbia came out and did a great job. Their pitchers threw strikes, got ahead of us and kept us off-balance all night.”
Columbia starter Bryce Barr (3-0) tossed 5.0 scoreless innings and surrendered just two hits, while fellow freshman Zack Bahm tossed 3.0 innings of clean relief. After totaling 14 runs in their first two victories, the Hurricanes (46-15) managed just two hits Sunday night.
“If you don’t have anybody on base, you can’t do much,” Morris said. “They didn’t walk guys and we just got a couple of hits.” The loss was just the fifth of the season for the Hurricanes inside Mark Light Field.
Miami righthander Enrique Sosa cruised through his first 4.0 innings, striking out seven batters while surrendering just one hit. But things unraveled in the top half of the fifth, when the first two Columbia batters reached via single and Sosa then hit Lions second baseman Will Savage with a pitch to load the bases.
After Sosa (7-4) walked Jordan Serena to force in a run and open the scoring, the junior was pulled in favor of righthander Derik Beauprez.
“I felt in the beginning I was pounding the zone. I was throwing strikes,” said Sosa of the decisive fifth. “At the end, I was just missing the zone. I couldn’t control my fastball. They did a pretty good job laying off of it.”
The decision to replace Sosa paid immediate dividends, as Beauprez quickly induced a 5-4-3 double play and a groundout to limit further damage to just one run.
But Miami’s offense struggled to get anything going against Barr, making just his third career start.
Miami will return to Mark Light Field for the third and final showdown with No. 3 seed Columbia Monday night in the Coral Gables Regional Championship Game. First pitch for the contest, slated for broadcast on ESPN3, 560 WQAM and WVUM 90.5 FM, is set for 7 p.m.