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15 April 2009

Weekend Baseball Matchup

Starting Pitching Advantage: North Carolina

North Carolina’s weekend starters – All-American right-hander Alex White, sophomore right-hander Patrick Johnson and senior right-hander Adam Warren – are a combined 11-3. Johnson leads the ACC with a 2.15 ERA, while Warren and White make the top 15. White ranks third among pitchers with 62 strikeouts in 54 innings, which averages to 10.33 batters a game. Opponents are hitting just .205 against Johnson. All-American Chris Hernandez has won two in a row for Miami, but David Gutierrez and Iden Nazario were both roughed up for six runs this past weekend at Clemson.

Bullpen Advantage: Miami

Setup man Taylor Wulf hasn’t been used in five games, since the Canes’ 14-8 victory against Florida State on April 5. Head coach Jim Morris said that an MRI came out negative and Wulf has been resting. Daniel Miranda has taken over the duties and has given up four runs in 4.1 innings. All-American closer Kyle Bellamy had a couple of scares against FAU over the past two weeks, but leads the conference with 10 saves. Tar Heel closer Colin Bates leads the conference with 22 appearances and has five saves and three wins, but two losses.

Infield Advantage: North Carolina

All-Americans Kyle Seager and Dustin Ackley take the diamond for the Tar Heels. Seager is batting .400 and leads the ACC with 58 hits and 18 doubles. He also has an on-base percentage of .483. Ackley is batting .387, slugging .704 and ranks second in home runs with 11 and third with 44 runs. Junior Jason Hagerty is on a team-high 13-game hitting streak, while junior Scott Lawson leads the Canes with a .341 batting average. Sophomore Yasmani Grandal is fifth with 10 homers.

Outfield Advantage: Miami

Miami’s three outfielders, senior Dave DiNatale, freshman Nathan Melendres and junior Chris Herrmann, have a combined .286 batting average, eight homers and 58 RBIs. Ted Blackman has a .309 batting average in 21 games and Jonathan Weislow can be Mr. Clutch. Redshirt junior Michael Cavasinni hit .500 in the FSU series this past weekend with five runs and four RBIs to bump up his average to .260 after a slow start. Sophomore Ben Bunting is third on the team with a .338 batting average with two homers and 25 RBIs.

Miscellaneous Advantage: UNC

As a team, UNC ranks third with a .971 fielding percentage. UM, on the other hand, is eighth at .962, but used to rank last out of 12 teams. In the standings, Miami is second in the Coastal Division with a 11-7 conference record. North Carolina is fourth at 10-7 and comes off a weekend series loss to host Florida State (21-12, 9-7) as well as a midweek 11-9 loss to High Point (14-17). Saturday night will be the official stadium dedication for Boshamer Stadium. The Tar Heels are 21-7 at home. Both Saturday and Sunday’s games are sold out.