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This Week in ‘Canes Baseball: April 25 Edition

The Hurricanes missed a big oppurtunity last week.

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

The Miami Hurricanes come into this week at 17-22 (10-11 ACC) on the season after a huge missed opportunity last weekend. Miami lost a weekend series to Pitt at home, which severely damaged the chances of the Hurricanes getting back to .500 or making the NCAA Tournament. On the bright side the Hurricanes got a dominant performance out of Andrew Cabezas in the third game of the series, and he earned ACC Pitcher of the Week Honors for his efforts:

Unfortunately Cabezas’ effort may have been too little, too late. The Hurricanes have four tough games this week, and it is entirely possible for them to be 6-8 games under .500 by this time next week. Things get yet more bleak when you notice that three of four of the Hurricanes’ games this week are on the road. Miami gets FIU at home, before three games against consensus Top 20 team and rival Florida State.

Mid-Week Game: Vs FIU

FIU is just 18-21 on the season, and they’ve struggled mightily throughout. Miami needs to take advantage of a game against a relatively weak opponent to ensure they get as many wins as possible.

The Hurricanes, despite their youth, hold the clear talent advantage here, but woes in the mid-week games can’t help but to cause some worry for the Hurricanes faithful. Miami has looked to Chris McMahon in hopes to change that misfortune, and he put together a stellar start last weekend that helped Miami earn a much needed win against FGCU.

This week Miami will need much of the same from the young righty. The Hurricanes must treat every single game as their most important game of the season from now on. They can’t afford to miss oppurtunities and miss chances like the ones they missed last week.

FIU will look to reverse their momentum with a win against the Hurricanes on Wednesday. This game is always circled on the schedule for FIU, and every time the two schools battle it is evident that the Panthers feel that they have something to prove. Miami will need to match that intensity to win on Wednesday night.

Prediction: Miami 4, FIU 1

Game Info

Date & Time: Wednesday, April 25, 6:00 PM

Hurricanes Starter: Chris McMahon (1-0, 3.00 ERA)

FIU Starter: Greyson Fletcher (0-1, 5.25 ERA)

Television: ACC Network Extra

Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM

Weekend Series: @ No.14 Florida State

This weekend the Hurricanes will face off against hated rival Florida State. The Seminoles have put together a fantastic season so far, sitting on a 29-13 record on the season.

The Seminoles don’t really excel in any one area of play. In fact, they sit in the middle of the ACC in everything from pitching to fielding. Instead, they use a balanced game to stand out on the field. They approach the game with a philosophy on fundamentals. Most notably the ‘Noles work big innings through smart at-bats, and they lead the ACC in walks. This becomes a problem for opposing teams in several ways, most notably when walks set up two or three run homeruns.

Florida State’s ability to work counts could become a big issue for the Hurricanes this weekend. Miami’s pitching staff has struggled with control, and they can’t afford to play into FSU’s strength.

On the mound the FSU pitching staff has been weakened by injuries this season. Most notably to All-American Tyler Holton, who underwent season-ending surgery after the first weekend of the season. In recent weeks the ‘Noles staff has been bailed out by strong offense, and Miami will need to take advantage of their chances in this series. Especially when you consider how quickly the Seminoles can score on you.

As for individuals the Seminoles are led by sophomore Drew Mendoza. Mendoza was a Freshman All-American last season, and this year he has continued to improve his game. He leads the ‘Noles in batting average and slugging percentage, and he is a big part of the Seminoles offense. He’s joined by fellow standout Jackson Lueck. Lueck’s batting average has been disappointing this year, but when the junior puts his bat on the ball you can expect it to be hit far. He leads Florida State in homeruns with ten, and Miami will need to avoid putting men on base ahead of him.

Miami will be hoping to improve their offense this weekend. The Hurricanes were dominated by the pitching of Pittsburgh last week, and now have just three regular starters batting over .300 on the season. After those three batters Miami has one player batting at .299, Willy Escala, and the entire rest of the roster is batting below or at .260. If the ‘Canes want any chance to turn their season around, it starts with supporting their pitching staff at the plate.

Meanwhile the pitching staff has continued to be strong for the Hurricanes. UM has eight pitchers with an ERA under four, but they’ve had nearly no run support to work with. If the Hurricanes could take advantage of just a few more chances per game, maybe even per week, they would be an exponentially better team, purely because of the quality of this pitching staff.

The importance of this series can not be stressed enough, and it doesn’t just come from its’ rivalry status. FSU is looking to continue an upward trajectory that they hope ends in another trip to Omaha and possibly a first national title, while Miami is desperate to turn around a season fraught with blown games and disastrous results. A series win would be hugely important for both teams, and the games this weekend should be hard fought and extremely competitive.

Prediction: Miami is swept, FSU 3, Miami 0

Game Info

Game 1

Date & Time: Friday, April 27, 6:00 PM

Hurricanes Starter: Jeb Bargfeldt (2-3, 3.94 ERA)

FSU Starter: Drew Parrish (2-0, 2.98 ERA)

Television: ACC Network Extra

Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM

Game 2

Date & Time: Saturday, April 28, 6:00 PM

Hurricanes Starter: Evan McKendry (5-5, 3.52 ERA)

FSU Starter: C.J Van Eyk (1-0, 3.68 ERA)

Television: ACC Network Extra

Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM

Game 3

Date & Time: Sunday, April 29, 1:00 PM

Hurricanes Starter: Andrew Cabezas (4-4, 4.30 ERA)

FSU Starter: Andrew Karp (7-3, 2.75 ERA)

Television: ACC Network Extra

Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM