Baseball

Baseball matchup: UM vs. BC

Starting Pitching Advantage: Even

All eyes will be on Chris Hernandez Friday afternoon as he returns to the mound after receiving stitches in his lip when he was struck by a line drive in his last start. The blow forced his fantastic outing to come to an abrupt end – Hernandez went to the hospital in a stretcher for precautionary reasons. He dominated BC last year, allowing just one run on four hits in seven innings. Iden Nazario is effectively wild and 5-2 this season. Boston College has two starters that are apt to put up solid numbers every outing. JB MacDonald and Pat Dean each have ERA’s below four.

Bullpen Advantage: Miami

Eagle closer Mike Belfiore is 5-0 with seven saves, while Kyle Bellamy leads the ACC with 12, and the next closest reliever, Duke’s Alex Hassan, trails by four. Eight of Bellamy’s saves have been for more than one inning. His ERA is 1.34; he has allowed two extra base hits all season and opponents bat .174 against him. There is no better closer in college baseball than Bellamy. Enough said.

Catcher Advantage: Boston College

The series in Chestnut Hill will feature two of the best catchers in the country. Miami’s Yasmani Grandal leads the Canes with 12 home runs and is second on the team in slugging (.582). Grandal has grounded into a team-high eight double plays, though. BC catcher Tony Sanchez is second in the league in home runs with 14 and is a local product from Miami Killian Senior High. His on-base percentage extends well over .400 and, defensively, there isn’t a better battery mate.

Infield Advantage: Miami

Ryan Jackson has not played the past three games due to sickness, but the Miami infield is still strong. Harold Martinez, Scott Lawson and Jason Hagerty are all batting over .300. Lawson and Hagerty are the most patient hitters on the team as they each have drawn 32 walks. Boston College has the second-best fielding percentage in the ACC. In this case, however, their offense does not compete with the Canes’ infield.

Outfield Advantage: Even

Dave DiNatale has started in center field lately while Nathan Melendres has come off the bench for defensive purposes late in games. Chris Herrmann is UM’s hottest hitter. He had two of Miami’s four hits against North Florida on Tuesday and had a big home run Sunday to propel the Canes to a series victory against VT. Boston College leadoff hitter and center fielder Robbie Anston is a threat on the base paths with 11 stolen bases in 13 attempts. He also leads the team in batting average (.369).

Intangibles Advantage: Miami

BC is having a surprisingly good season. The Eagles will likely make the ACC tournament. Earlier this year, they won a series at FSU. Miami is poised to finish strong as they hope to hit their stride heading into postseason play. Miami is 5-0 all-time against the northernmost team in the conference.

April 29, 2009

Reporters

Justin Antweil

Senior Sports Writer


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