Baseball, Sports

Canes win ninth straight, take on Georgia Tech over weekend

Miami Junior Harold Martinez rounds third base on the way to home in the top of the eighth inning against Florida Gulf Coast. The late run put the Hurricanes up 5-2. Alex Broadwell//The Miami Hurricane Alex Broadwell//The Miami Hurricane

Following Miami’s loss to Illinois State back on March 9th, the Hurricanes’ eighth defeat of the young season, head baseball coach Jim Morris wasn’t too fond of his team’s performance.

“I’m very depressed from watching the game tonight,” Morris said at the time. “We’re not playing the game very [well], offensively or defensively right now and we’ve got a long ways to go before we’ve got a chance to be a good club.”

Fast-forward two weeks and Miami (14-8, 6-0) hasn’t lost a game since. The Hurricanes are in the midst of a nine game winning streak heading into this weekend’s showdown with ACC Coastal Division foe Georgia Tech.

After sweeping Wake Forest this past weekend, the Canes swept through their weekday series, defeating UCF 4-1 on Tuesday night and coming back late to defeat Florida Gulf Coast on Wednesday, 5-2.

The importance of the upcoming three game series was not lost on Miami’s veteran head coach.

“It’s big…we’re the only two teams in the conference that are undefeated right now,” Morris said. “Georgia Tech’s got an outstanding club.”

Miami has turned its season around behind consistent starting pitching, a dynamic and effective bullpen and an offense that is slowly but surely beginning to find its identity.

“We’ve worked on staying more on top of the ball,” sophomore Michael Broad said following Miami’s 4-1 win against UCF. “Our team is a pretty fast team…we [are trying]to use our speed more.”

One Cane in particular who has seen a resurgence at the plate is junior Harold Martinez. After struggling both in the field and in the batters box early on, the slugger is hitting just under .300 and has switched positions from third to first base.

The move has helped both Martinez and the Hurricanes as a whole.

“You can see he’s happy. He’s enjoying being over at first base. He’s relaxing. I think it took a little bit of the pressure off of him,” Morris said.  “No question [it’s been] a key move that’s helped the entire team get going.”

Aside from Miami’s improved play on the field, off the field and in the clubhouse there have also been noticeable changes.

“It’s definitely more upbeat in the locker room. Everyone’s excited to come out everyday,” sophomore pitcher Stephen Ewing said. “It’s just been a lot more fun, upbeat atmosphere lately.”

Regardless of the good feelings surrounding the team at the current moment, coach Morris recognizes that there is still room for improvement.

“We still have to swing the bat better. We’re hitting .247 as a team…we need to hit .300 with aluminum bats,” Morris said.  “The bottom line is…we’ve got to get those key hits when we’ve got guys on base. That’s the thing that’s happened the last few games.”

Adam Berger may be contacted at aberger@themiamihurricane.com

March 23, 2011

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Adam Berger

Staff Sports Writer


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