Head Coach Jim Morris could not have asked for more when he inserted sophomore Cesar Carrillo into the starting rotation. Carrillo has dominated at times and has posted a 6-0 record in his first season starting for the Hurricane.
The Hammond, Indiana native was first inserted in the rotation against Elon College on March 5 and pitched four solid innings, giving up only two runs and helping Miami pick up a 6-3 win.
“At first I didn’t know what to expect when I went out there,” Carrillo said. “I knew it was a lot different from high school because everyone in the lineup can hit, but I just went out there and tried to throw strikes.”
His best start of the season came against Penn State, where he pitched eight innings giving up only three hits and one run as Miami won 6-1.
Hailing from Mt. Carmel High School, the same high school as Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb and basketball star Antoine Walker, Carrillo chose to be a part of the Hurricanes for the same reason as many northerners.
“I chose Miami pretty much for the weather,” Carrillo said. “I was sick of the cold weather.”
In high school, Carrillo posted a 14-2 record in his final two seasons, including a 9-1 record with a 0.96 ERA in his senior season.
As for this season, his numbers are just as impressive. He has appeared in 10 ballgames, seven of which were starts, and has posted a 3.10 ERA in 49.1 innings. He also has picked up two saves. But the business management major said he would definitely rather be starting.
“I prefer to start because I’m the first guy out there,” Carrillo said. “The game is in my hands. If I pitch good then we win, but if I am in the bullpen I have no control over that.”
Carrillo has some nasty stuff, as his fastball has been clocked as high as 97 miles per hour. Morris knew Carrillo had the right stuff to make the move from the bullpen into the starting rotation.
“He had a really great fall and a really great spring because he has really great stuff,” Morris said. “We felt like he had as good of stuff as anyone on the team and once he’s been in the lineup, he has gotten it done for us.”
Whether it is Elon or Florida State in the visiting dugout, it doesn’t bother Carrillo. He isn’t phased by any team the ‘Canes face.
“The only difference when we play Florida State is that there are more people in the stands,” Carrillo said. “There are more eyes put on you out there, but we have to take every team the same way.”
It is a known fact that pitching wins ballgames for teams, and although the Miami starting pitching hasn’t been as solid as Morris would have liked, he knows that Carrillo and the rest of the staff will have to keep pitching well if they would like to advance to their second straight World Series appearance.
“It is very important for our starting pitchers to throw good,” Morris said. “Whether it’s our one, two, or three guy, we need to have good starting pitching.”
Carrillo returns to the mound this weekend when the Hurricanes get a taste of a future ACC rivalry when the University of Virginia comes to Mark Light Field for a three-game series starting on Friday night.
Doug Kroll can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.