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This Week in ‘Canes Baseball: April 13 Edition

The Hurricanes look to continue their momentum in the ACC this weekend.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Miami vs UC Santa Barbara Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The Hurricanes enter this weekend with a big opportunity, and sitting at 15-18 (7-8 ACC) they need to take advantage.

Midweek Game: FGCU 5, Hurricanes 4:

After putting together several comebacks throughout the game, Miami fell just short at the end to drop a heartbreaker to Florida Gulf Coast.

Greg Veliz had a no-hitter through 5 and two-thirds innings, and his offense couldn’t put the run support together behind a dominant start.

After the bats finally awoke, the Eagles got a few more key hits than the ‘Canes, and that ultimately propelled them to a victory on Wednesday.

The bullpen once again let the Hurricanes down a little, with Albert Maury Jr. allowing the run that eventually gave FGCU the win.

This loss puts Miami in a tough spot, with a solid run needed to put them in a position to contend for a spot in the NCAA tournament, last year 33-38 wins had teams on the bubble, with it coming down to SOS and other factors to determine the last several spots. Miami would be in a good place as far as strength of schedule, playing in the ACC means playing a quality team week in and week out, but in order to get in a position for that to matter, the Hurricanes need to start winning games like the one on Wednesday. You should NEVER lose a game where your starter has a no-hitter into the second half of the game, and the Hurricanes will have to hope for more starting pitching performances like this one to turn their season around, but instead of letting them pass, they MUST take advantage.

Full Recap Here:

Weekend Series - @ Pittsburgh Panthers

The Hurricanes head into the weekend needing another ACC series win, and Pitt provides an opportunity for Miami to build on their second half momentum.

The Panthers are a lower-tier team in the ACC, and in order to have any chance of making the tournament the Hurricanes need to take advantage of opportunities like the one this weekend.

Unfortunately there are a few obstacles in the Hurricanes way, most notably starting pitching. Jesse Lepore (1-4, 5.27 ERA) has struggled mightily since the first three weeks of the season, and since losing his form after taking a tough loss at Florida, he has struggled to find it ever since. Meanwhile Sunday starter Michael Mediavilla (3-4, 4.62 ERA) has also had his share of struggles, while Midtown is tied with Jeb Bargfeldt and Greg Veliz for wins, he still has struggled far more than the other two, especially compared to last season where he was 11-2 with a 3.40 ERA. The former Friday starter has been relegated all the way to the Sunday role since the beginning of the season, and has struggled to find his form, save for a few outings during the season. On the brighter side of things, Saturday starter Jeb Bargfeldt (3-2, 1.88 ERA) has been dominant in most of his outings, especially recently, with his only losses coming as a result of an offense that often cannot support its’ pitching staff.

Speaking of the offense, things have improved over the last several weeks, with star centerfielder Carl Chester (.262, 3 HR, 19 RBI) providing a boost to the team in the last several weeks. Speedster James Davison has also proven himself to be a extremely dangerous leadoff man, with his 8 steals providing much needed pressure on the base-paths, especially at the start of games. The lineup has also improved elsewhere, with several previously unheard of players providing important contributions to the team. There is also significant room for improvement in several players, most notably senior Johnny Ruiz (.210, 2 HR, 11 RBI), who has struggled at the plate after being heralded as Miami’s most important returning offensive player.

Meanwhile Pitt enters the weekend at 14-15, and at 6-9 in the ACC. In a very similar position to Miami’s. Pitt has had similar offensive struggles, with the highest batting average among regular starters being Alex Amos’ at .258. Miami should have the talent to beat the Panthers this weekend, and needs to take advantage against a weaker opponent in the ACC.

The Hurricanes will need at least a series victory, preferably a sweep to call this weekend a success, and will look to build upon their second half momentum.

We all know that these players can be excellent in college, in fact, we have seen it in many of them. Johnny Ruiz was an MLB Draft pick last season, Jesse Lepore went undefeated on Wednesdays, and Carl Chester batted .336, among other notable contributors still on the team, but ultimately they haven't been able to shake the gremlins that are preventing them from becoming a traditionally dominant Miami team. Hopefully this second half is marked by a magnificent Miami run, as they certainly have the capability to do so.

Prediction: Miami sweeps Pitt 3-0.

Series Info:

Game 1:

Friday, April 14, 6:00 P.M Eastern

Hurricanes Starter: Jesse Lepore (1-4, 5.27 ERA)

Radio: WVUM 90.5

Television: ACC Network Extra

Game 2:

Saturday, April 15, 3:00 P.M Eastern

Hurricanes Starter: Jeb Bargfeldt (3-2, 1.88 ERA)

Radio: WVUM 90.5

Television: ACC Network Extra

Game 3:

Sunday, April 16, 1:00 P.M Eastern

Hurricanes Starter: Michael Mediavilla (3-4, 4.62 ERA)

Radio: WVUM 90.5

Television: ACC Network Extra

How do you guys and gals think this weekend will go? Tell us in the comments below!