Miami Hurricanes stumble to Lebarron Johnson, Longhorns

Miami Hurricanes Lebarron Johnson

Miami, Florida – The Miami Hurricanes were unable to get anything going against Lebarron Johnson Jr., falling to the Texas Longhorns 4-1 Saturday night. Johnson produced a 129-pitch complete game, stifling the potent Canes offense and sending UM tumbling into the elimination bracket. Karson Ligon was roughed up lasting only two innings surrendering four runs on five hits including a pair of home runs. Ligon was also charged with a balk and had a ball get away from him resulting in a frightening hit-by-pitch.

Dylan Campbell extended his record-breaking hitting streak to 37 via a first-inning round-tripper to left field giving the Longhorns an early 2-0 advantage. Campbell broke the Big 12 record set by Oklahoma State’s Ty Wright on Friday night against Louisiana. Wright recorded a hit in 35 straight games back in 2007.

Rafe Schlesinger took over in relief during the third with a valiant effort tossing seven shutout innings and punching out nine in the best performance of his college career. The contest was ultimately decided in the first two innings when Miami loaded the bases twice and didn’t score. Dominic Pitelli’s solo shot in the fourth was the only generated run.

Originally slated for 6:00 P.M., the game was pushed slightly to 6:06 before storms led to a two-and-a-half-hour weather delay. This was the first time the two storied baseball powerhouses battled one another in twenty years. UM lost both games to Texas in the 2003 College World Series. The Hurricanes will now have to win three straight to advance out of the regional including a doubleheader tomorrow that starts with the Ragin’ Cajuns at noon. Texas awaits the winner of the elimination game with their bout slated for 6:00.

Missed Opportunities

The Longhorns struck first with the Campbell dinger nestled between two doubles. Lebarron initially struggled allowing Miami to load the bases in the home half of the inning with one out. However, they failed to convert. Johnson escaped the jam once Zach Levenson popped out and Renzo Gonzalez whiffed.

Jack O’Dowd took Ligon deep to center field in the second to make it 3-0.

The Hurricanes squandered an additional bases-loaded situation the following frame. With two gone, Yohandy Morales fouled out to right field. Their opponents, meanwhile, did not settle for the three-run advantage. Jalin Flores manufactured an RBI single in the third making it 4-0. It was more than enough.

Texas suffered a big scare that same inning when Ligon drilled Garret Guillemette in the helmet. The air was sucked out of the crowd as the catcher lay motionless near the plate. Thankfully, he got up shortly thereafter and ultimately remained in the game, temporarily substituted with a pinch-runner while he was evaluated for a possible concussion. Per NCAA: the re-entry rule allows a starter to return to the game after being substituted for, but he must return to the same position in the lineup. The pitcher and designated hitter may not re-enter the game once removed. Ligon was then pulled in favor of Rafe.

Johnson matched the lefty blow for blow, retiring 11 consecutive batters after the Dom Bomb in his longest outing of the year. LBJ shattered the season mark of seven innings. Levenson tripled in the team’s last gasp during the eighth. Unfortunately, pinch-hitter Lorenzo Carrier grounded out on a 2-0 count to the pitcher.

Impressions

It’s last year’s regional all over again. The U lost a relatively close game and now have their backs to the wall roughly 24 hours after their opening win. Some folks will blame the starting pitching. Certainly on coach Gino DiMare’s choice of going with Ligon. For me, this is pretty much on the offense. How can you load the bases twice and not come away with a run? I tip my cap off to LBJ, the kid was phenomenal. However, he was very beatable in the beginning. When he overcame his early jitters and escaped the jam not once but twice, I had a sense of foreboding. Lebarron Johnson honed in and skilfully contained the Miami Hurricanes’ bats.

It really felt like the team was gradually losing control especially when Ligon beaned Guillemette. They spent the night trying to regain the momentum to no avail despite Schlesinger’s outstanding performance. This was DiMare’s biggest game of his tenure as head coach. If the Canes suffer their third consecutive early exit the cries for change will significantly increase. It’s do or die against the Ragin’ Cajuns.

📸Credit: Danis Sosa

(Visited 47 times, 1 visits today)