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Miami could end ACC drought at CWS

Closer Carlos Gutierrez is the key reason Miami is back in the World Series, according to his manager.

Associated Press

Closer Carlos Gutierrez is the key reason Miami is back in the World Series, according to his manager.

OMAHA, Neb. — It has been 53 years since the Atlantic Coast Conference won a national championship in baseball. And the drought could soon be over.

ACC members Miami, North Carolina and Florida State are among the top four seeds at the College World Series.

The Hurricanes and Tar Heels are Nos. 1 and 2, meaning there could be an all-ACC final when the best-of-three championship round starts June 23.

There hasn't been strength in numbers for the ACC. The league has had multiple teams in the CWS seven times — including a record four in 2006. But the 1955 Wake Forest club is the only ACC team to win a national title in baseball. Miami, which has four championships, didn't join the ACC until 2005.

Miami faces No. 8 seed Georgia today in the Hurricanes' attempt to become the second team to win the CWS as the No. 1 national seed. The first was UM's 1999 squad.

The Hurricanes feature a school-record three first-round draft picks in first baseman Yonder Alonso (No. 7, by Cincinnati), second baseman Jemile Weeks (12th, Oakland) and pitcher Carlos Gutierrez (27th, Minnesota).

Gutierrez, who spent all of last year rehabbing after a ligament-replacement procedure, better known as Tommy John surgery, has developed into one of the nation's best closers and, according to UM coach Jim Morris, is the key reason why the Hurricanes (52-9) are back in the CWS for the 23rd time.

ESPN draft analyst Keith Law called Gutierrez "the biggest surprise of the first round" in the draft.

UM coaches and players said they were also surprised, but in a different way.

"If there was a surprise, it's that he was drafted as late as he was in the first round," Morris said.

Miami's Chris Hernandez, the ACC freshman of the year, starts against Georgia's Trevor Holder (8-4).

The Bulldogs bounced back from last year's 22-33 record to win the Southeastern Conference.

Miami could end ACC drought at CWS 06/13/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 1, 2010 11:48am]
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