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This Week in Canes Baseball: February 16th

The Canes have a 3-game series against Rutgers at The Light to start the season.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Florida vs Miami
Will the Hurricanes make it back to TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha this year?
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

The Hurricanes start their season at home against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights this weekend.

The Hurricanes will have several fresh faces making appearances in this game and will rely on youth to fill several holes left by multi-year starters leaving for the draft, and you can read more about that in our season preview.

In Miami and Rutgers’ most recent meeting on the diamond last year Miami swept Rutgers 3-0 at The Light, and this year you should expect more of the same.

Miami’s roster, however young, harbors considerably more talent than Rutgers’ roster, and this series will provide an outlet to let newer, younger starters get used to the college game.

Expect Jim Morris’ to change his lineup card day in and day out, as he has already said that he will make as many changes as necessary to find the most productive lineup for the team’s success. Morris however, has released what the starting rotation will be for this series, with junior righty Jesse Lepore going on Friday after his strong season as the midweek starter, lefty JUCO transfer Jeb Bargfeldt going on Saturday, and lefty junior Michael Mediavilla going on Sunday.

Some may be surprised to see Mediavilla in the Sunday game, but Jim Morris told the press that Mediavilla has not pitched as well in practices as he did last year. This is a concerning development, but hopefully Mediavilla works out the kink in his game, whatever it may be, before the season starts and that we can all look forward to watching the All-American deal again.

The Hurricanes also have to deal with the loss of SS Johnny Ruiz and 1B Christopher Barr this weekend as they both fight injuries. Ruiz will still DH according to Coach Morris because he is dealing with an elbow injury which he can not throw on, but can hit on. However, first baseman Christopher Barr is still recovering from a back injury that he gained in November, and did not play at all in the alumni game. Freshman Greg Veliz figures to be Barr’s replacement at first base for the time being, and shortstop duties were taken by junior Brandon Gali in the alumni game. Veliz also doubles as the team’s starting pitcher on Wednesdays, but until Barr is fully healthy it appears he will be the coaching staff’s go-to option to replace him at first base.

Frankie Bartow should also slot into the main relief role as the replacement for Bryan Garcia after the latter’s departure for the MLB. Bartow and Andrew Cabezas look to be the two primary relievers at the start of the season, with freshman Albert Maury and Mason Studstill also expected to be important pieces of the bullpen. Cabezas could become a starter for UM later in the season but Coach Morris will keep him in the pen’ for the time being in order to fill in for injured Cooper Hammond.

I FULLY expect the Canes to win this series, and also expect them to sweep Rutgers at home at the light. I think Miami’s talent is far better than that of Rutgers’ and that this shows on the baseball diamond. This series also provides an immediate opportunity to see how the team reacts to adversity, and how much quality depth the Hurricanes have this season.

Prediction: Canes sweep the series against the Scarlet Knights at home, 3-0.

Expected Lineup:

Should be similar to the alumni game according to Coach Morris:

Carl Chester, CF (2016: .336)

Michael Burns, RF (2016: Played at Cisco College)

Johnny Ruiz, DH (2016: .342)

Edgar Michelangeli, 3B (2016: .269)

Greg Veliz, 1B (2016: No stats, freshman this year, No. 127 Player in his recruiting class)

Romy Gonzalez, 2B (2016: .173)

Michael Amditis, C (2016: No stats, freshman this year, No. 114 Player in his class)

Hunter Tackett, LF (2016: Played at Northwest Florida State College)

Brandon Gali, SS (2016: Played at Polk State College)

Series Information

Game 1:

Date & Time: Friday, February 17th, 7:00 P.M Eastern

Television: ACC Network Extra

Radio: WVUM 90.5

Hurricanes Starter: Jesse Lepore (2016: 9-0, 2.20 ERA)

Game 2:

Date & Time: Saturday, February 18th, 7:00 P.M Eastern

Television: ACC Network Extra

Radio: WVUM 90.5

Hurricanes Starter: Jeb Bargfeldt (2016: Played at Cisco College, 11-1, 4.45 ERA)

Game 3:

Date & Time: Sunday, February 19th, 1:00 P.M Eastern

Television: ACC Network Extra

Radio: 560 WQAM

Hurricanes Starter: Michael Mediavilla (2016: 11-2, 3.40 ERA)

Tell us how you think this series will go in the comments below.