Matchups: Miami vs. Clemson

Starting Pitching         Advantage: Even

After being dropped down in the rotation last weekend, Chris Hernandez is being moved back up this weekend and will pitch Friday night. Hernandez had his best outing of the season last weekend, as he tied a career high by striking out 11 FSU hitters. His command was pinpoint, and his cutter was his dominant pitch. The last time Hernandez faced Clemson was in the ACC tournament where he pitched eight scoreless innings while striking out 10, surrendering no walks. Sophomore Iden Nazario continues to impress on Sundays as he will look to go 5-0. As a  team, Clemson has the second best ERA in the ACC. They have three solid starters in Casey Harman, Graham Stoneburne and Chris Dwyer.

Bullpen                        Advantage: Miami

The Miami bullpen has endured some hiccups lately and the bridge to closer Kyle Bellamy has not been very sturdy. But Bellamy has been lights out. He leads the ACC with nine saves. Six of those saves have been for more than one inning of work. Clemson’s Achilles heel all season long has been its bullpen. They have a closer by committee and have lost four times when leading after eight innings.

Outfield                      Advantage: Miami

All three Tiger outfielders are batting below .280. Miami centerfielder Nathan Melendres is hitting .337 during games played on weekends. Junior Chris Herrmann and senior Dave DiNatale are two of seven Canes to drive in at least 20 runs.

Infield                         Advantage: Miami

Corner infielders Harold Martinez and Jason Hagerty each come into the weekend riding nine-game hitting streaks. Martinez, a freshman, had just two home runs in his first 104 at bats, but now has three over his last 16. Hagerty, a junior, has seen his average rise .079 points in the past two weeks. He is second on the team in batting average (.333) behind junior second baseman Scott Lawson (.354). Clemson’s first baseman is the by far the Tigers best hitter. He has 12 RBIs in his last five games and is hitting .388, with 19 extra base hits.

Intangibles                  Advantage: Miami

Miami defeated Clemson in all four meetings last year. Of Miami’s 24 wins, 17 of them have been come-from-behind victories. On the other hand, Clemson has not been able to preserve leads or win the close ones. The Tigers have lost 10 games by three runs or less.

April 8, 2009


Justin Antweil

Senior Sports Writer

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