The Miami Hurricanes look to bounce back this season after a rather disappointing ending to the 2014 campaign. After a slow start, the 2014 Canes compiled a 45-20 overall record, including a 27-3 run to conclude the regular season. Supported by a dominating pitching staff, the Canes won the 2014 ACC Regular Season Championship and hosted an NCAA Regional in Coral Gables. They couldn't keep the hot streak going in the ACC Tournament or in Regionals and were bounced by then, No. 23 Texas Tech. The 2015 team is set out to build on last season and prove their record was no fluke.
The Canes will go into the season with high expectations after being ranked No. 10 by Perfect Game, No. 14 by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and No. 15 in the D1 Baseball Preseason Poll. Other lofty praise was received when sophomore catcher Zack Collins was selected to Preseason All-America first team by Baseball America, along with reliever Bryan Garcia, who was a third-team selection. Collins, who finished the year with a .298 batting average and 11 (monstrous) home runs, was also named Baseball America's 2014 National Freshman of the Year. He, along with fellow sophomore OF Willie Abreu and junior 1B David Thompson, will be key staples in the Miami lineup this upcoming season. Thompson, who has battled countless injuries in his time at Miami, was a former second-team All American by Perfect Game, and will look to fully bounce back now that he is 100 percent healthy.
Another name to keep an eye on is that of junior college transfer George Iskenderian. Iskenderian, a junior, transferred in from Indian River Community College after hitting .373 with one home run and 23 RBI. The infielder was also selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 34th round of the 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Freshman OF Carl Chester is another player who could have an impact his first season with the program.
UM will also have the services of a player football fans should recognize in Malik Rosier. Rosier is expected to play some CF and could add additional speed to both the line-up and the outfield.
Miami will also get a major lift in LHP Andrew Suarez, who was a third-team All-ACC player last season. Suarez, a redshirt junior, was selected in the second round (57th overall) by the Washington Nationals and spurned their contract offer in favor of returning to school to be the heralded ace of the pitching staff.
Competition won't be scare this year in the ACC, as Miami will have a tough 30-game conference slate. They will begin ACC play with a three game series at Louisville in early March (6-8). Louisville, who has had back-to-back College World Series trips, will be looking to cement itself among the elites in arguably the country's best conference. The last time these two teams faced off was two seasons ago in Louisville in the NCAA Regional, a match up which Miami lost 6-4.
Other notable series to watch for are against rival Florida in Gainesville (Feb 20-22), at North Carolina (March 27-29), at Virginia (April 17-19), and at home against rival FSU (April 24-26).
The ACC Championship will be held in Durham, N.C. from May 20-24.
The Canes will officially begin their season on Friday, February 13 at 7 p.m. with a four game series against Rutgers in Coral Gables.
The Road to Omaha starts now.