CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — For a ninth-place hitter who hits few home runs, Edgar Michelangeli has taken dramatic long balls and flamboyant bat-flips to new heights in the last few weeks.
The junior third baseman hit a three-run homer and a grand slam in Mami’s super regional-winning 9-4 victory over Boston College on Sunday at Mark Light Field.
“I don’t know how to answer that question,” said Michelangeli when asked about the power surge that has seen him hit three of his five career homers since May 26. “You don’t really try to hit home runs. It was a full-count, bases loaded. I knew they didn’t want to walk me.”
Miami coach Jim Morris said he had a great feeling after the home run.
“It was like the kiss of death,” Morris said. “It was over.”
Miami (50-12) reached the College World Series, which starts June 16 in Omaha, Nebraska, for the second straight season. Miami is the No. 3 national seed and will play Arizona in its first game at Omaha.
Boston College (35-22) fell one win short of what would have been its first trip to the CWS in 49 years. The Eagles, though, are just 2-15 at Miami, and one of those wins came Saturday.
The two home runs resulted in a career-high seven RBIs for Michelangeli. He touched off a near brawl when he celebrated his grand slam — which made the score 9-3 in the seventh inning — by running around the bases with his right hand up.
Just before he crossed the plate, Michelangeli exchanged angry words with BC catcher Nick Sciortino, who took exception to the show-boating. After Michelangeli scored, he ran to where his team had gathered outside the first-base dugout, where there was some brief pushing and shoving with BC players.
Both teams were warned, but there were no ejections.
“It was too loud — I didn’t really hear what (Sciortino) said,” Michelangeli said. “I was very happy. I had a lot of emotions. I was screaming, ‘Let’s Go!’ That’s it.”
Michelangeli had similar emotions on May 26, when he hit a go-ahead three-run homer against North Carolina State in the ACC Tournament. That was Michelangeli’s first experiment with a dramatic bat flip, and it caused a stir.
On Sunday, Michelangeli was relatively calm on his first homer, except for a few high-step moves just before he crossed home plate.
But when he hit his grand slam, Michelangeli enjoyed himself to the max, and the Eagles were obviously not amused.
“You never want to see the benches clear,” BC coach Mike Gambino said. “You don’t want to see a little scuffle like just happened.
“What we talk about in our program is character, toughness and class. … I think our boys play hard. I think they play the game the right way. I think they respect the game and their opponents.”
Gambino said the toughness part of his team’s mantra came into play when the scuffle broke out, adding that his players “had each other’s backs.”
After the commotion had subsided, Miami closer Bryan Garcia picked up a four-out save. He has 42 career saves, a Miami record, including 18 this year.
NO HAND SHAKES: Due to the scuffle, NCAA officials decided to not have the hand-shake line after the game.
CONTROVERSIAL PLAY: The Canes had a run taken off the board in the fifth inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Chris Barr hit a groundout to first baseman Mitch Bigras, who flipped to second for an out. The relay to first was not in time, allowing a run to apparently score.
But Jacob Heyward’s slide into second was ruled to be late, and the inning was ended with no run scoring.
PITCHING CHANGE: Miami scratched sophomore right-hander Jesse Lepore (9-0, 2.20 ERA). Lepore has been battling shoulder tightness since lasting just three innings in his previous start.
He was replaced by freshman right-hander Andrew Cabezas, who lasted 2 2/3 innings (two runs allowed) and 47 pitches. Cabezas had also thrown 37 pitches in relief on Saturday night for a total of 84 tosses in less than 24 hours.
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