Baseball

Freshman earns starting spot in lineup

Patience is a virtue for one Cane.

It’s a known fact that in order to be a key player for your team, you have to prove yourself and you have to earn the right to play your position. Frankie Ratcliff is a true freshman that proved to his coaches that he deserved the right to have a starting position on the team.

“Frankie is an outstanding young player for us and we have outstanding expectations for him. He has made an immediate impact,” said head coach Jim Morris of his second baseman.

Ratcliff started the year on the bench but when he got the chance to prove himself, he did it successfully. After inept play from a plethora of first baseman, senior Scott Lawson was forced to slide over to play first base which opened up an opportunity from the 5-foot-9 Key West native.

Ratcliff is a pest on the bases and one of the fastest players on the squad. Although his average is hovering around .260, his on base percentage is over .100 points higher.

He expected to work for his position and that it wouldn’t just be handed over to him.

“Since I am a freshman,” Ratcliff said. “I kind of expected it but since I didn’t get to start, I knew I would get some opportunity to play. And when I would get the chance, I would have to prove myself.”

Despite the fact the sports administration major was not getting playing time, he was still an integral part of the team always on the top step cheering on his teammates.

Motivation in the dugout contributes to success.

“It’s always good to be a part of a winning team,” said Ratcliff. “So keeping [my teammates]up while I was in the dug out was important for me, just as much as playing, so that we could win the games.”

Ratcliff capitalized on his opportunity. He scored the game-winning run against Fordham as the Hurricanes rallied from five runs down to defeat the Rams. He has four home runs on the year and all have been clutch. He belted bombs against Duke, FAU and most recently against Florida State this past Saturday and Sunday.

“[The University of Miami] fits me the best, I always liked Miami since I was a little kid. But mostly I love the baseball program here, I like the coaches a lot and it’s a chill place to go to school,” Ratclif said.

He also doesn’t take anything for granted.

“I am my own motivation. I knew what I had to do to be successful and to go to Miami,” he said.

Ratcliff came to UM with big shoes to fill. Lawson was second team All-ACC last year and Jemile Weeks two years ago was a first round draft pick.

“[Weeks] was a good player,” Ratcliff said of the former Cane star. “I used to watch him a lot. Just like anything here it’s about tradition, and the tradition here is to take over a dominant player’s position. It’s just a coincidence that we have a lot in common. We play the same position and we are both switch hitters.”

Ratcliff might be small in stature, but he has big expectations. He wears the same number, 19, as Hurricane hero Yonder Alonso and he also has the same walk-up song as Alonso. The song, “Extreme Ways” by Moby, gets Ratcliff riled up.

On the diamond, it’s all business for him. But Ratcliff likes to have a good time too.

“I like to joke around. I like to laugh a lot it keeps me relaxed,” Ratcliff said.

The second baseman looks to do something Weeks or Alonso were never able to do- win a national championship.

Michelle Salom may be contacted at msalom@themiamihurricane.com


April 25, 2010

Reporters

Michelle Salom

Contributing News Writer


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