Still super: Texas beats Miami, moves to NCAA super regionals for third straight year

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Jared Thomas is new to this.

As a freshman at Texas, Thomas hadn't celebrated the ending of a regional in the NCAA baseball tournament before. Fellow freshman Jalin Flores said the team's veterans had told the newcomers earlier this year that the Longhorns don’t dogpile until Omaha.

Thomas, though, didn’t recall receiving that directive.

So how did he handle the end of Sunday night's 10-6 win over Miami that clinched the Coral Gables regional?

“I just kind of went with the flow,” said Thomas, who starts at first base. “I saw Peyton (Powell) kind of running in and doing our thing that we usually do after a game, so I just went with that. I didn't know if we were dogpiling or not.”

Texas' Jalin Flores had the biggest hit in Sunday's 10-6 win over Miami: a grand slam in the third inning that propelled the Longhorns into next weekend's NCAA super regionals. Texas went 3-0 in the Coral Gables regional, beating host Miami twice.

Sparked by a nine-run third inning, Texas (41-20) wrapped up its regional championship at Mark Light Field. Texas, which went 3-0 over the weekend, advances to this weekend's super regionals for the third year in a row and the fourth time in Texas coach David Pierce's seven years.

The Longhorns will next face either Stanford or Texas A&M, which will decide their regional on Monday.

After Miami batted in the top of the third inning on Sunday, Texas found itself trailing 3-0. The Longhorns also were still looking for their first baserunner against Miami's Ronaldo Gallo.

Gallo opened the inning with a strikeout of Flores, but the Longhorns then got to work. Texas' next nine batters reached base against Gallo and reliever Carlos Lequerica, who entered the game after Dylan Campbell extended his school- and Big 12-record hitting streak to 38 games with a single.

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Campbell didn't have the only notable swing during the inning. Thomas and Powell both drove in runs. Texas executed a hit-and-run play on a Garrett Guillemette double that drove in Powell and allowed Campbell to score from first. And Flores' strikeout to open the inning? He made up for it with a grand slam.

"The feeling (in the third inning) was just pass the bat to the next guy. Just get that next guy up there and let him do his thing," Flores said.

By the end of the inning, Texas led 9-3. "It happened fast," Miami coach Gino DiMare confessed.

It was the 10th time this season that Texas has batted around its lineup in a single inning; the Longhorns previously had accomplished that feat against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Manhattan, New Orleans, Incarnate Word, Abilene Christian and Texas Southern, and they did it three times during last month's series against San Jose State. Out of all those teams, only San Jose State qualified for the NCAA postseason.

Sunday's third-inning tear came against a Miami team that ended its season with a 42-21 record and was the ninth overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, playing at home.

The Texas dugout celebrates Porter Brown's first-inning home run against Abilene Christian during their game on April 19 at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. The Longhorns will next face either Texas A&M or Stanford in the NCAA super regionals.

"We say all the time we don't like any game being handed to us or being easy. Them putting a three-spot kind of lit a fire under us," Thomas said. "I think it all goes back to the work that we put in behind closed doors. We have trust in every single one of our guys to go up and do his thing and that's what we did."

After grabbing its 9-3 lead, Texas never allowed Miami to get any closer than four runs. Guided by pitchers Charlie Hurley and Zane Morehouse to the finish line, Texas ended the game on Morehouse's seventh strikeout of an outing that lasted 2⅔ innings. Morehouse also pitched the final two innings of a regional-opening win over Louisiana on Friday.

"For him to go out and do what he's done in this tournament, it's been outstanding for us," Pierce said of Morehouse.

Texas is now 12-0 in its last four NCAA regionals with Pierce. Asked for his secret to success, he surmised that "we've prepared well and tried to stay consistent."

"We've been pretty fortunate with health, and we've been really fortunate with good players and they're very motivated," Pierce added. "I don't know, but I'm not going to complain about it."

Flores picks the best time possible to go long

Key play: Jaylin Flores' slam: On the first pitch of his second at-bat in the third inning, Flores cut the biggest swing of his freshman year, connecting with a Lequerica pitch that he hammered to deep center field. The grand slam was the fifth of UT's season.

"Honestly, my job is advance the runners, get a run in, scratch for something, get a pitch I can drive early," Flores said. "I went up there with that mindset and just getting the job done for for my teammates, give us the best chance to win."

Flores made his ninth straight start. Used as a shortstop, third baseman and designated hitter since the end of last month's Kansas series, that was just his second homer since the beginning of April.

Tanner Witt works two innings

Notable number: 41. Texas starting pitcher Tanner Witt threw 41 pitches over two innings. It was the fifth appearance this season for Witt, who missed most of last year after having Tommy John surgery.

Witt retired Miami in order during the first inning, but ran into trouble in the second. He hit two Miami batters in the inning. Dominic Pitelli, who homered and had three of Miami's seven hits during Saturday's 4-1 loss, then launched a ball over the fence in right field.

Witt finished out the second, but his day ended soon thereafter. The 41 pitches were the second-most for him this year, but Pierce had previously teased that Witt could be extended to 65 this weekend.

On deck for Texas: super regionals

Up next: Texas A&M — or Stanford: Texas will face either Stanford or Texas A&M in the super regionals. Eighth-seeded Stanford staved off elimination against Texas A&M on Sunday night with a 13-5 win. That set up a winner-take-all game on Monday (8 p.m., ESPN+).

If Stanford wins its regional, Texas will head to California next weekend. If A&M wins, the NCAA will choose between hosting bids that the schools submitted before the NCAA Tournament began and announce the super regional's location by Tuesday.

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Texas beats Miami to claim regional title in NCAA baseball tournament