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This Week In ‘Canes Baseball: February 21 Edition

The Hurricanes have four games against the SEC this week.

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

The Hurricanes have a massive schedule of games this week. Miami, coming off a 2-1 series win over Rutgers last weekend, plays four games against the SEC this week, including one of the biggest series of the year against hated rival No.1 Florida this weekend.

While the pitching staff had some struggles last weekend, Miami’s offense was considerably more impressive than last season’s. One notable part of the offensive success is OF Danny Reyes, a transfer from UF. Reyes had a fantastic series against Rutgers, and he was named an ACC co-player of the week for his efforts:

This week will be no easy task for Reyes and the Hurricanes, and a 3-1 record this week could go a long way to pushing Miami up the polls and towards their goal of a national championship.

Let’s take a closer look at the week ahead:

Midweek Game: Vs Missouri Tigers

The Missouri Tigers are an interesting mid-week opponent. Last year the Tigers managed to earn a 36-23 record, but missed the NCAA Tournament due to a terrible 14-16 record in the SEC, including series losses in their first six conference series. 2017 was an important step forward for Mizzou however, as 36 wins were the most wins the program had earned in a single season since 2008.

This year the Tigers look to build on the success of last season. The Tigers are led by two seniors, Brett Bond and Trey Harris. Bond, a catcher, was drafted in the 23rd round of last year’s MLB Draft, but chose to return to Mizzou in hopes of improving his draft stock. Harris was a breakout star for the Tigers last season, and he hopes to continue that success into this season.

Brian Sharp will take the mound to start for the Tigers on Wednesday. Sharp, a pitcher who doubles as a first baseman, was 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA last season. Sharp has limited experience as a pitcher, and it’ll be interesting to see how he handles facing a team as talented as Miami’s on Wednesday.

Miami will send Michael Mediavilla to the mound to face the Tigers. Mediavilla struggled last season, earning a disappointing 4-5 record and 4.45 ERA, in addition to losing his spot as a pitcher in the weekend rotation. This year Mediavilla looks to return to the success that earned him 2016 Second-Team All-American honors, and he got that quest underway on Friday, when the senior appeared in relief against Rutgers and quickly worked a 1-2-3 inning. UM’s defense will be challenged by Mediavilla’s style of pitching to contact, but based off last week’s defensive performance, there should be little to worry about for the Hurricanes.

Additionally, Miami’s offense will look to get back on track this weekend after a disappointing Game 3 against Rutgers. Despite scoring five runs, the ‘Canes were shutdown during the whole second half of the game, and this game against Missouri is an important chance for a tune-up before consensus No.1 Florida comes to town this weekend.

In the end Miami should win this game and get their week started off right.

Prediction: Miami 6, Mizzou 2

Game Info

Date & Time: Wednesday, February 21, 6:00 PM

Hurricanes Starter: Michael Mediavilla (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Missouri Starter: Brian Sharp (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Television: ACC Network Extra

Radio: 790 The Ticket

Weekend Series: Vs No.1 Florida Gators

This weekend the Hurricanes will play their most hated rival, the Florida Gators, in the annual weekend series played by the teams each year. This year the Gators come in on top of the college baseball world. UF finds themselves as the national No.1 team and the defending national champion. Coming off a series sweep of Siena, they’ll look to do the same to the Hurricanes.

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes will look to avoid the fate of last year’s team that was swept in Gainesville. Miami finds itself in nearly the opposite position as Florida. After missing the NCAA tournament for the first time in 44 years, the Hurricanes will look to show that this season they are ready to once again compete on a national level.

Things against Florida won’t be easy though, the Gators have one of the best, if not the best, starting pitching prospect in America, and his name is Brady Singer. Singer gave up just two hits to Siena last weekend, and will look to limit Miami in much the same way. He has the capability to be dominant against nearly every team he faces if he has his stuff, and with this series having the role of a huge rivalry, the Hurricanes better be prepared to face his best effort. Jackson Kowar will go for the Gators on Saturday, and the junior will look to build off a ten strikeout performance last week. Kowar allowed only two runs in his first start, but he struggled early, which provides some hope that Miami will be able to jump out to an early lead against the junior righty. UF’s rotation is finished out by sophomore Tyler Dyson, who allowed just one run in his start Sunday against Siena. As always the Gators’ rotation is extremely strong, and Miami will have to capitalize on every opportunity they get this weekend.

Miami will try to match the Gators’ strong rotation with not only strong pitching of their own, but a seemingly much improved offense. One player to keep an eye on this weekend is former UF player Danny Reyes, who now plays for the Hurricanes. Reyes started the season on fire last week, and Miami will need him this weekend to have success against the Gators. Ultimately, last season’s struggles against UF stemmed from a stagnant offense, and the Hurricanes must avoid that this year if they want any chance of victory.

This series may very well be Miami’s most difficult of the season, and it may also be Miami’s biggest opportunity all season. If the Hurricanes can pull off a series win this weekend, they would most likely find themselves skyrocketing up the polls. In addition, it’s an opportunity for Miami to silence the doubts that many have because of last season’s disappointment. It isn’t going to be an easy task for the Hurricanes, but if they want and expect to win a national title, it starts this weekend.

Prediction: Florida wins the series 2-1.

Game Info

Game 1

Date & Time: Friday, February 23, 7:00 PM

Hurricanes Starter: Jeb Bargfeldt (1-0, 1.80 ERA)

Florida Starter: Brady Singer (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Television: ACC Network Extra

Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM

Game 2

Date & Time: Saturday, February 24, 7:00 PM

Hurricanes Starter: Greg Veliz (0-0, 6.00 ERA)

Florida Starter: Jackson Kowar (1-0, 2.57 ERA)

Television: ACC Network Extra

Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM

Game 3

Date & Time: Sunday, February 25, 12:00 PM

Hurricanes Starter: Evan McKendry (0-1, 10.80 ERA)

Florida Starter: Tyler Dyson (1-0, 1.50 ERA)

Television: ACC Network Extra

Radio: 790 The Ticket