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This Week in ‘Canes Baseball: February 27 Edition

The Hurricanes have a lot to prove this weekend.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Arizona vs Miami Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes come into this week with a record of 3-4. Miami comes off a disappointing week where they went just 1-3 and lost their series vs the Florida Gators.

However the Hurricanes had a big bright spot on Sunday, where Evan McKendry and Andrew Cabezas combined to give Miami a 2-0 shutout win over the Gators. McKendry earned ACC pitcher of the week honors for his effort:

This week should be a bit more relaxing for the Hurricanes, as they play five games against relatively weak opponents before their ACC slate begins next weekend.

Mid-week Game: @ FAU

The Miami Hurricanes play the Florida Atlantic Owls in their first road game of the season Wednesday. The Owls come in with a 6-1 record and a lot of momentum after a weekend sweep of Delaware.

Nick Prather will get the start for the Owls. Prather, a sophomore from Zionsville, Indiana, got his first collegiate start in a 6-2 loss against Florida last week. Prather struggled against the depth of the Gators’ lineup. It’ll be interesting to see how he matches up against Miami, a lineup that is trying to elevate itself to the level of the Gators.

Meanwhile, Michael Mediavilla and the ‘Canes will look to forget their disastrous mid-week game from last week and set their sights on starting the week of right. The defense struggled mightily throughout last week, and because Mediavilla is a contact pitcher, they’ll have to come ready to play against Florida Atlantic. They can’t allow themselves to slip this week.

This game will give us an early indication on whether or not the changes we saw from Miami last Sunday will last. It’s important that Miami gets consistent on defense, and FAU will be a good test, because the Owls have quietly amassed a solid roster.

Prediction: Miami 3, FAU 1

Game Info

Date & Time: Wednesday, February 28, 6:30 PM

Hurricanes Starter: Michael Mediavilla (0-1, 3.00 ERA)

FAU Starter: Nick Prather (0-1, 8.10 ERA)

Television: None

Radio: 790 The Ticket

Weekend Series: Vs Maine

The Hurricanes will play four games against the Maine Black Bears over the weekend, including a double-header Saturday. If Miami can play well this weekend, it’ll give them a huge opportunity to grow confidence heading into ACC play next weekend.

Jeb Bargfeldt will look to bounce back after taking a loss against Florida last weekend. The senior appeared to struggle with control for most of his start. Bargfeldt was often leaving his pitches high in the zone, which resulted in the Gators taking his pitches for a ride, which turned out to be the difference in the game.

Greg Veliz will look to bounce back after disappointment on Saturday. Veliz put in a solid outing, but the sophomore couldn’t get any help from his lineup and lost despite allowing only three runs.

It will also be interesting to see how the bullpen reacts to what was a tough last week. Miami’s relievers allowed far too many runs against the Gators, and it will be crucial for them to improve for Miami to have more success this weekend.

Meanwhile things have gone very poorly for the Maine Black Bears. Maine comes in to this weekend at just 2-6 on the season, including a 21-6 loss to Texas Tech. Last week was a bit more encouraging for the Black Bears, who went 2-2 in a series with the University of Ohio, but Maine will look to prove just how talented they are this weekend.

The Black Bears are led by senior pitcher Justin Courtney, who was named the America East Conference’s pitcher of the week after pitching 7.2 innings of one run baseball against Ohio last Friday. He will look to do the same damage to a struggling Miami lineup in this Friday’s contest.

At the plate Jeremy Pena leads the Black Bears. Pena has been batting at .324 throughout the first part of the season, and he’s added two homeruns and four RBIs to his work at the plate thus far. Pena will be asked to do a lot this weekend to help the Black Bears overcome a talented Miami starting rotation.

Caleb Kerbs will be another player Maine relies upon this weekend. The redshirt junior from Brooklyn is batting a solid .286 on the young season, and he’ll look to help Pena provide some offense against the Hurricanes.

Another dangerous threat from the Black Bears is catcher Cody Pasic. Pasic hits for a terrible .125 batting average, but his on-base percentage of .382 is deadly. He’ll force pitchers into using everything they have against him and he’ll be patient, driving up the pitch count. This could become an even bigger threat to Miami if the bullpen can’t shake some of the bad memories they have from last weekend.

It’s unclear how Miami will approach the intricacies of the doubleheader they have Saturday, and who the fourth starter for this weekend will be. It’s possible that Michael Mediavilla could pitch again Sunday, and giving a start to someone like Daniel Federman is also possible. However, starting Federman would mean he would be unavailable for the rest of the weekend. It’ll be interesting to see how Jim Morris and J.D Arteaga manage the pitching staff, this weekend will show you which players they really trust out of the bullpen. Not to mention the fact that the Hurricanes are already down two quality arms with Frankie Bartow and Chris McMahon both unavailable due to injuries.

Miami should expect to win at least three, if not all four of their games vs Maine this weekend. The ‘Canes have more talent, even though it may be young, and the Black Bears struggled mightily against the one good opponent they’ve played this season, Texas Tech. This is a big chance for the Hurricanes to show what kind of team they are, if they can be consistently good, or if last Sunday against Florida was a fluke.

Prediction: Miami wins series 3-1.

Series Info

Game 1

Date & Time: Friday, March 2, 7:00 PM

Hurricanes Starter: Jeb Bargfeldt (1-1, 4.91 ERA)

Maine Starter: Justin Courtney (1-1, 3.09 ERA)

Television: ACC Network Extra

Radio: 790 The Ticket

Game 2 (Doubleheader First Game)

Date & Time: Saturday, March 3, 3:00 PM

Hurricanes Starter: Greg Veliz (0-1, 3.24 ERA)

Maine Starter: Eddie Emerson (0-1, 9.53 ERA)

Television: ACC Network Extra

Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM

Game 3 (Doubleheader Second Game)

Date & Time: Saturday, March 3, 7:00 PM

Hurricanes Starter: Evan McKendry (1-1, 3.86 ERA)

Maine Starter: Trevor DeLaite (1-0, 2.16 ERA)

Television: ACC Network Extra

Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM

Game 4

Date & Time: Sunday, March 4, 12:00 PM

Hurricanes Starter: Unknown

Maine Starter: Chris Murphy (0-2, 23.40 ERA)

Television: ACC Network Extra

Radio: 790 The Ticket