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1 April 2009

Matchups: Miami vs. Florida State

Starting Pitching         Advantage: Florida State

All three weekend starters for the Seminoles have ERAs under 4.00. Two of Miami’s three weekend starters have ERAs over 5.00. The Hurricanes’ Chris Hernandez must have command of his pitches and needs a solid performance for his confidence. The ‘Noles will counter with their ace, freshman Sean Gilmartin. Sunday starter Iden Nazario hopes to carry his success from his last start into this weekend, after throwing a career-high seven innings and striking out 10 against Georgia Tech.

Bullpen                        Advantage: Miami

The UM bullpen endured a couple of hiccups last weekend, but it’s still the Canes’ strong point. Junior closer Kyle Bellamy was dominant against FSU last season. He pitched in all four games against the Seminoles. In 6.1 innings, he only allowed two earned runs. FSU closer Jimmy Marshall has struggled this year with an ERA hovering at around 5.00.

Infield                         Advantage: Miami

The right side of the Hurricanes’ infield has been sensational as of late. Lawson finished the series against Georgia Tech 6-for-9, with six walks and seven RBIs. Junior first baseman Jason Hagerty finished the weekend 6-for-13, with six RBIs and two stolen bases. Florida State shortstop Stephen Cardullo is the reigning ACC player of the week, and Florida State first baseman Jack Posey leads the team in slugging percentage.

Outfield                      Advantage: Florida State

FSU center fielder Tyler Holt leads the ACC in batting average (.447), is second in the league in runs scored (34), has 12 stolen bases and has only committed one error in the outfield. Mike McGee, FSU’s Sunday starter, also plays left field and is a good hitter. Miami outfielders Dave DiNatale and Chris Herrmann have seen their averages dip below .300.

Coaching                     Advantage: Miami

It’s no secret that these two veteran coaches are not best friends. The rivalry between Mike Martin and Jim Morris is a microcosm of the intense in-state rivalry between these two storied schools. Last year, after Miami’s win over FSU in the College World Series, Morris waited at home plate for Martin, so they could shake hands after the game, but Martin never budged from the dugout.

Intangibles                  Advantage: Even

The ‘Noles head to South Florida riding a seven-game win streak. Miami is coming off their first series loss this season. But Miami has won five of the past six meetings. Each team has different styles. Florida State is second in the ACC in home runs and batting average. Miami’s foundation is about timely hitting and having the starters pitch well enough to hand the ball to the dynamic duo of Taylor Wulf and Bellamy at the back end of the ‘pen.