CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Dave DiNatale scored three runs and had two hits as top-seed Miami defeated Bethune-Cookman 7-4 in the second game of the Coral Gables Regional on Friday night.
The Wildcats kept the game close until Blake Tekotte’s two-run single in the seventh gave Miami the three-run margin. Tektite hit a two-out blooper that landed between second baseman Mark Brooks and center fielder Jose Ortiz.
“I was just trying to put it in play,” Tekotte said. “We knew we had our work cut out for us. This was the best fourth-seeded team in the nation.”
Miami went ahead for good in the sixth when DiNatale scored his third run on Yasmani Grandal’s RBI single off Eric Thomas (9-1).
“Bethune-Cookman has an outstanding ballclub,” Miami head coach Jim Morris said. “I don’t think I’ve been as nervous all year as I was (Friday). I didn’t feel comfortable until the last pitch.”
Reliever Kyle Bellamy (6-0) got the victory, pitching 2 1-3 scoreless innings. Carlos Gutierrez pitched a scoreless ninth for his 12th save.
The victory advanced Miami (48-8) to the winner’s bracket game against Missouri on Saturday at 4 p.m. Missouri defeated Mississippi 7-0 in the first game Friday of the double-elimination regional. Bethune-Cookman will play Mississippi at noon.
Mark Brooks’ two-out, two-run triple in the sixth tied it at 4-4 and chased Miami starter Enrique Garcia, who allowed four runs and seven hits, walked three and struck out four.
“Nobody gave us a chance against Miami,” said Bethune-Cookman head coach Mervyl Melendez, whose team also lost two regular season games against the Hurricanes. “They capitalized on our mistakes, and that’s why they’re the No. 1 team in the nation.”
The Hurricanes erased a 2-0 deficit, scoring four against Wildcats starter Hiram Burgos in the third.
Shortstop Jose Lozada’s throwing error on a relay throw to third ended in the Miami dugout and scored DiNatale. Grandal’s groundout drove in Adan Severino. Miami took the lead on Mark Sobolewski’s two-run single.
The Wildcats (36-21) struck early with a two-run second. Brooks’ ground out drove in Neal Jones for a 1-0 lead. Patrick Jones followed with a sinking line drive, which landed in front of diving right fielder Dennis Raben and scored Emannuel Castro. Castro went 3-for-3