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This Week In ‘Canes Baseball: May 3 Edition

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The Hurricanes have just a few weeks left before this season mercifully ends.

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

At 18-25 (11-13 ACC) on the season, the Miami Hurricanes are just looking to play out the rest of the season without any embarrassment. With Miami unlikely to make postseason play, we can look back on the Jim Morris era with some fond memories of the College World Series appearances and some sad memories of the fast few years.

If there’s one thing that may be the most heartbreaking of all the disappointments of this season, it may just be how much the legacy of Jim Morris has been tarnished over the last two seasons. For so many years Miami was the pinnacle of college baseball. Programs from across the country looked to Coral Gables, Florida to find how to build a program that could even come close to matching the perennial success that Miami enjoyed. Much of that can be attributed to Jim Morris, but his legacy will never be the same as it was before the last two seasons. Miami is a combined 50-52 since the start of last season, and as a result many fans have begun to turn on Morris. While much of that criticism is deserved, it’s difficult to imagine where this program would be if Morris had never come to the University of Miami.

None of that changes the current situation that faces the Hurricanes however. Unless Miami can pull it together in a record breaking amount of time and essentially go undefeated or win the ACC Tournament, any hopes for a spot in the NCAA Tournament are gone. There’s just simply not enough games left for the Hurricanes, time has run out to turn it around.

While there’s not enough time to turn the season around, it’s still important for the Hurricanes to play hard. The purpose of that is twofold. Firstly, it can give Jim Morris an end to the season that he deserves after so many seasons of dedication to this program, and secondly, it can start to build momentum towards a bounce back next season.

Weekend Series: Vs Bethune-Cookman

All of that can start this weekend. Miami has one of the easiest series it will get all year this weekend, when Bethune-Cookman comes to town.

BCU is just 18-27 on the season, and the Wildcats are theoretically one of the weakest teams the Hurricanes will play all season. This weekend absolutely has to be a bounce back weekend for Miami. If this series, at home, doesn’t go the Hurricanes way, it’ll be a shock to the whole program.

To ensure that Miami takes advantage of this opportunity, they’ll have to begin providing support to a pitching staff that is the only reason Miami isn’t struggling more this season. While most of Miami’s team has not impressed throughout the year, the pitching staff has consistently held Miami in games they had no right to be in. The Hurricanes have lost far too many games that they should have won this season due to offensive struggles.

Seemingly every week an opposing pitcher sets a new high for strikeouts in a game, and most of it rests in a lack of discipline at the plate. It seems that too often a Miami batter either swings at every pitch or is caught not swinging with two strikes. The Hurricanes need to learn that putting the ball in play is vitally important, even if it appears to be an out. A grounder is far more valuable than a strikeout. On a grounder there’s multiple chances for an error to occur, especially if it’s a well hit ball, while after a strikeout, there’s no defensive play to be made.

Some may argue that Miami hasn’t had luck this season, but part of luck is putting yourself in the situation to have good luck, and the ‘Canes haven’t done that yet this year.

The Hurricanes will have to watch out for junior Nate Sterijevski this weekend. He leads the Wildcats in batting average, on base percentage, and is second on the team in homeruns. Additionally, fellow juniors Zach Spivey and Danny Rodriguez are dangerous members of the Wildcats’ lineup. Both players are clutch, and each has over twenty RBIs on the season, at first and second for RBIs on the team respectively.

BCU has some quality pitching. One pitcher to watch out for is starter Anthony Maldonado. The sophomore is 6-2 with a 3.00 ERA on the season. However, while there is high end quality in the Wildcats’ staff, there’s also little depth. This is yet another series where Miami could have a major advantage if they can knock out a starter early in either the Friday or Saturday game of this series.

Miami will look to get continued strong performances from the freshman in the lineup. Specifically Isaac Quinones and Freddy Zamora. The two have been stellar players for Miami in this season so far, and in last week’s series against FSU Zamora had several incredible defensive plays that wowed fans from both teams. The two are extremely exciting players for the future, and Miami will need them to continue their recent play this weekend.

Miami should come out of this series with a sweep, and if not, a series win. Anything else would be a major disappointment for the Miami faithful.

Prediction: Miami sweeps, takes series 3-0.

Series Info:

Game 1

Date & Time: Friday, May 4, 7:00 PM

Hurricanes Starter: Jeb Bargfeldt (2-4, 3.75 ERA)

BCU Starter: Tyler Norris (3-5, 3.97 ERA)

Television: ACC Network Extra

Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM

Game 2

Date & Time: Saturday, May 5, 7:00 PM

Hurricanes Starter: Evan McKendry (5-6, 3.48 ERA)

BCU Starter: Anthony Maldonado (6-2, 3.00 ERA)

Television: ACC Network Extra

Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM

Game 3

Date & Time: Sunday, May 6, 1:00 PM

Hurricanes Starter: Andrew Cabezas (5-4, 4.25 ERA)

BCU Starter: Tyler Krull (1-3, 7.00 ERA)

Television: ACC Network Extra

Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM