Jacob Heyward lifts Miami past Arkansas to stave off elimination
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Even when Jacob Heyward failed, he was a success.
It was that kind of day for the Miami sophomore, who singled in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Hurricanes knocked Arkansas out of the College World Series with a 4-3 victory on Monday.
Heyward, the hottest No. 9 batter in the college game right now, was supposed to bunt before he delivered the walk-off win. He squared up twice and got down 0-2 against Zach Jackson. That forced Heyward to swing away. And it was a good thing.
"I've got to be honest, when we were bunting in the bottom of the ninth, he didn't get it over, and I was almost glad," coach Jim Morris said. "I just had a feeling he was going to get a hit."
Heyward hit a two-run homer and reached base all four times he went to the plate Monday. Heyward rounded first base, tossed his helmet high in the air and waited for teammates to mob him after Carl Chester scored the winning run. Chester pinch ran for Willie Abreu, who started the ninth with a double off the center-field wall.
"We were trying to win a ballgame, and it would have been terrible if I had struck out with a man on second base," Heyward said. "I had to have a good at-bat, and I tried to put the barrel on the ball. It happened."
The Hurricanes (50-16) move to a Wednesday game against Virginia or Florida. The Razorbacks (40-25) went two-and-out at the CWS for only the second time in eight appearances.
Bryan Garcia (6-2) earned the win after getting out of a bases-loaded situation in the top of the ninth. Jackson (5-1) took the loss.
Heyward, the younger brother of St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Jason Heyward, has reached base in six of eight plate appearances in two games.
"It looked like he was seeing a beachball out there, everything we threw him," Arkansas' Joe Serrano said. "He was handling the bat real well, and I wish him the best of luck the rest of the College World Series."
Heyward drilled a Jackson Lowery pitch into the left-center seats in the fifth inning for the first CWS home run between the power alleys in the five years the event has been held at the spacious TD Ameritrade Park. It was Heyward's fourth of the season.
"For us, huge win, huge win," Morrisa said. "Mr. Heyward's day, goodness gracious. He had an unbelievable day."
After the Razorbacks tied it 2-2 in the seventh, Heyward singled in the bottom half and stole second. He went home when shortstop Michael Bernal threw wildly to third trying to get him on a groundball. The ball bounced into the screen in front of Miami's dugout, and Heyward scored ahead of Lance Phillips' throw to the plate.
"It was reaction," Heyward said. "I knew I had the speed to get to third on that play. Every time somebody's been aggressive in a game, they made the other team make a mistake. I saw the ball go away and heard (third-base coach) Gino (DiMare) yell for me to go home. It was straight home."
The Hogs tied it in the eighth and loaded the bases in the ninth, but Garcia got Rick Nomura to ground out to end the inning.
"You'll never see me shed a tear," Hogs coach Dave Van Horn said, "when you finish your season in Omaha."