Despite a season in which he led the team in hits (75), doubles (21) and stolen bases (10) with a .333 average and made the All-ACC Second Team, the transfer from Grayson Community College in Texas didn’t get picked.
Two days before the draft Lawson turned in a career performance as Miami routed Texas A&M 14-1 Saturday night at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.
Lawson went 4 for 6 with three home runs and six RBI as the top-seeded Hurricanes (42-17) collected 20 hits in the winner’s bracket at the Coral Gables Regional.
“It was fun playing someone from Texas. It’s always exciting,” Lawson said. “I was just trying to be aggressive early in the count and put some good swings on the ball.”
Every starter had at least one hit and batters seven through nine reached base nine times.
“It’s very important to know that the other guys in the lineup can do it and they really have,” head coach Jim Morris said. “A lot of guys got some big hits for us these two days.”
Of Miami’s 14 runs, 10 came with two outs. The Canes’ offense scored in each of the first five innings to take an early 13-0 lead.
Miami’s ace, Chris Hernandez (9-3), pitched six scoreless innings of three-hit ball before a two-hour and 28-minute rain delay forced him to exit.
It was Hernandez’s first career postseason victory in three seasons at UM.
Until Caleb Shofner’s single in the fifth, he had retired 12 of 13 batters since Brodie Greene’s single in the first.
“I felt like I could’ve gone all nine today,” Hernandez said. “I felt good. I felt like I was throwing everything for strikes. I felt strong.”
For the second-seeded Aggies (41-20-1), Ross Stripling (6-4) faced a hitting barrage by allowing six runs on eight hits in three innings.
“I had trouble throwing curveballs early and it seemed like when I threw a fastball it found a hole,” Stripling said.
Things got started in the top of the first when Lawson blasted his first homer, a solo shot to right, as the second batter.
Texas A&M had a scoring chance in the bottom of the inning, but stranded runners at second and third when Matt Juengel grounded out to Lawson for the third out.
“We had our opportunity in the first inning and we didn’t do that and we don’t get another chance until the eighth inning,” Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress said.
With two outs in the second, the bottom of the order got it done for the Canes.
Nathan Melendres scored on an RBI single by Stephen Perez, who finished with three hits and four RBI, and the ninth batter, Frankie Ratcliff, drove him in from first with a triple to center.
Perez came up big for the second consecutive inning with two outs and the bases loaded with an RBI single.
Chris Pelaez and Lawson each blasted three-run shots to extend the lead to 13-0 in the fourth and fifth, respectively. Perez added a homer to right in the ninth.
Miami will await the winner of the elimination game between Texas A&M and fourth-seeded Dartmouth (27-8).
“It’s a huge win in this tournament. It’s the biggest win you get at this point other than the final one to advance,” Morris said. “Our guys played very well. As a team we played really well. We pitched well. We played good solid defense and we swung the bat good.”