It wasn't so much a surprise that the University of Miami won their opening game of its NCAA Regional against Oklahoma State. After all, UM came in as a 2-seed whereas OSU was the 3-seed, but may have been something of a surprise as to how they went about doing it.
Miami, which, with superior talent last year scuffled to an 0-2 finish in the Coral Gables Regional last year, shutout the Cowboys 7-0.
And really, the Hurricanes' pitching has been for the most part outstanding all year, and obviously it was against OSU as Chris Diaz struck out ten batters while allowing just three hits and no runs in seven innings of work.
With that said, UM has struggled, perhaps like no Hurricanes' squad has struggled offensively in recent memory. So, to see Miami put seven on the board in what is close to a must-win game was both surprising and comforting if you're a fan of the team.
Garrett Kennedy and Tyler Palmer each registered three hits, with Kennedy clubbing a home run. Additionally, what was encouraging for UM was consecutive RBI singles in the four-run inning by Kennedy, Chris Barr and Brandon Lopez.
Essentially, UM got timely hitting.
This is a team that's won convincingly at North Carolina and a team that's lost two out of three at Boston College, so anything's possible.
Having said that, it's very possible this is a new team than the one we've seen for a majority of the season, hardened by one of the toughest schedules in the country and playing for their manager and architect of the program, Jim Morris, who is ill.
Miami will take on Louisville in a winner's bracket final, and given that it's in Kentucky, one figures UM probably needs to win that game to advance as well. Beating either Bowling Green or Oklahoma State and following that up with two consecutive victories over Louisville might be too tough.
But if UM hits like it did in Game 1 against Oklahoma State? Louisville and any other team UM encounters will have a very tough opponent to deal with.