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This Week in ‘Canes Baseball: February 26 Edition

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After a rough week, Miami will look to get back on track.

Credit: Miami Athletics

The Miami Hurricanes enter this week at 4-3 after suffering a weekend sweep from the No.1 Florida Gators last weekend. The coming week sees an easier slate for the Hurricanes, and Miami will look to get back in the win column in the week ahead.

The Hurricanes remained a top-10 team despite the sweep last weekend, but dropped substantially in most polls. The ‘Canes dropped to No.7 in the D1Baseball poll, No.6 in Baseball America’s poll, No.10 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll, and sit No.11 and No.13 in Perfect Game and Collegiate Baseball’s polls respectively.

Miami had a tough weekend in all facets of the game last week. The Hurricanes made five errors over the weekend, something that will have to improve for the ‘Canes to make Omaha. At the plate, the weekend wasn’t much better, with Miami going just 1-18 with runners in scoring position over the weekend.

Fortunately for the Hurricanes, there’s plenty of opportunities to make up for last weekend over the season ahead. Every goal remains in reach for Miami, and getting to those goals will begin with better play this week.

Mid-Week Game Vs South Florida Bulls

South Florida has gotten off to a rough start in the 2020 baseball season. The Bulls sit at just 2-6. USF got off to a good start to the season, with a series win over Marist, but since then they’ve lost five games in a row; including losses to FSU and a sweep by a Northeastern at home this weekend.

In the preseason USF was picked to finish seventh in the AAC. Many consider this to be a rebuilding year for the Bulls, and if they want to avoid that coming true they’ll have to get on track this week.

Carmine Lane has led the Bulls offensively this season. The freshman is off to a hot-start, batting .417 and driving in a team-high four RBI through two weeks of the season. He is USF’s only player with more than three starts that is batting over .250 so far this season. The Bulls have also struggled to get on base, with just a .269 on-base percentage. When the Bulls have hit, they’ve struggled to have those hits go for extra-bases, with a .194 slugging percentage this season, just 22 points higher then the team batting average, which sits at .172.

Baron Stuart will get the start on the mound for USF. The junior right-hander is off to a bumpy start to the season, with a 5.40 ERA through 6.2 innings pitched. Stuart is a talented strikeout pitcher, with nine so far this season, and he’ll look to produce a lot of swings and misses on Wednesday.

Miami will send Alex McFarlane to the mound to start. McFarlane struggled in a relief appearance against the Gators last weekend. The freshman has a 6.23 ERA through four and a thirds innings pitched, and he’ll hope to bounce-back in this start. The ‘Canes will most likely use multiple pitchers on Wednesday, something they did against Kent State last week, with each pitcher used working one or two innings.

The Hurricanes have emphasized mid-week games since Gino DiMare has become head coach. After a rough weekend, this will be one of their biggest tests in showing up energized and focused for a mid-week game.

Game Info

Date & Time: Wednesday, February 26, 3:00 P.M. Eastern

Hurricanes Starter: Alex McFarlane (1-1, 6.23 ERA)

USF Starter: Baron Stuart (0-1, 5.40 ERA)

Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM

Television: ACC Network

Weekend Series Vs Towson Tigers

Towson is off to a 2-4 start in 2020. The Tigers were projected to finish tied for last place in the Colonial Athletic Association preseason poll, and are hoping to improve on a rough 14-39 2019 campaign.

Towson started off their season by getting swept by Old Dominion. Last week was better for the Tigers though, with Towson earning two nice wins over High Point University. Towson is a program trying to build consistency, and having a good showing against Miami this weekend would be a huge step forward for the program.

The Tigers are led at the plate by senior infielder Brad Powers. Powers has five hits in just three games so far this season, and has an on-base percentage near .500 for the season. Freshman catcher Burke Camper has also been a standout so far this season for Towson. He hasn’t had an extra-base hit yet this season, but he’s been a consistent on-base threat throughout the year so far.

On the mound Towson’s best starter has been Nick Ramanjulu. Ramanjulu has thrown 10.2 innings through two starts, and has nine strikeouts and an excellent 1.69 ERA over those innings. Kody Reeser has also been good through two bullpen appearances, with a .192 batting average against and a 2.45 ERA.

Miami will look to get back on track at the plate in support of a pitching staff that has been fantastic so far this season. The Hurricanes’ team ERA sits at just 2.73, and starters Brian Van Belle and Chris McMahon have allowed just three earned runs in four combined starts so far in 2020. The ‘Canes will look to see improvement from the bullpen this weekend though, especially after late-innings struggles last week.

The Hurricanes have just three hitters batting over .300 this season, and this weekend will be a big opportunity for a new-look lineup to settle in. With the loss of Freddy Zamora for the season several players are settling in to new roles, and this weekend will be a prime opportunity for the lineup to begin to gel ahead of conference play.

Miami needs to take advantage of this weekend series against Towson as an opportunity to get back into rhythm ahead of a tough slate against ACC opponents that begins next weekend against Pitt.

Series Info

Game 1

Date & Time: Friday, February 28, 7:00 P.M. Eastern

Hurricanes Starter: Brian Van Belle (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Towson Starter: Josh Seils (0-2, 8.31 ERA)

Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM

Television: ACC Network Extra

Game 2

Date & Time: Saturday, February 29, 7:00 P.M. Eastern

Hurricanes Starter: Chris McMahon (1-0, 2.25 ERA)

Towson Starter: Nick Ramanjulu (1-1, 1.69 ERA)

Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM

Television: ACC Network Extra

Game 3

Date & Time: Sunday, March 1, 12:00 P.M. Eastern

Hurricanes Starter: Slade Cecconi (1-1, 4.09 ERA)

Towson Starter: Tyler Russo (0-1, 10.12 ERA)

Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM

Television: ACC Network Extra