Baseball, Sports

Miami Hurricanes seek to beat Clemson Tigers in ACC matchup

Sophomore right-hander Jesse Lepore (55) pitches during the men’s baseball win over Bethune-Cookman Wednesday night at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field. The Hurricanes are anticipating their ACC matchup against Clemson this weekend. Victoria McKaba // Assistant Photo Editor

Sophomore right-hander Jesse Lepore (55) pitches during the men’s baseball win over Bethune-Cookman Wednesday night at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field. The Hurricanes are anticipating their ACC matchup against Clemson this weekend. Victoria McKaba // Assistant Photo Editor

The No. 4 Miami Hurricanes will take on the No. 12 Clemson Tigers in a three-game series this weekend at Mark Light Field. It will be another ACC matchup for Miami and the team will look to carry its momentum from last weekend’s series win over then-No. 4 Louisville into this one.

The Canes (17-4, 4-2) will need to play at their best this weekend, as Clemson comes into the series riding an eight-game winning streak. Throughout the year Clemson (17-3, 5-1) has been able to rely on solid starting pitching to hold other offenses in check. This weekend, the Canes batters will have to face Clate Schmidt, Charlie Barnes and Alex Eubanks. All three have had up-and-down seasons, but they’re a huge reason why Clemson notched those eight straight wins.

Schmidt is a powerful senior that has a lot of experience on the mound for the Tigers. He has been a regular starter since his freshman year. His best year was 2014 when he appeared 20 times and finished the season with a 3.68 ERA. After being diagnosed with and beating Hodgkin’s Lymphoma a little under a year ago, Schmidt has made an incredible comeback and has pitched well enough this year to solidify himself as the No. 1 starter in the rotation.

At the plate, most of Clemson’s production comes from the heart of its lineup. Catcher Chris Okey and right fielder Seth Beer hit third and fourth, respectively, and are the Tigers’ most feared hitters. Okey was a first-team All-American last season as a sophomore and is batting .300 with three home runs so far this year.

Beer came into the season as a highly touted freshman and has certainly lived up to the hype. He leads the ACC in batting average (.453) as well as home runs (nine) and he recorded six hits with three RBIs last weekend against Boston College. Miami’s pitchers could try to pitch around these two and take their chances with the rest of the lineup.

If the Canes can get productive starts out of their staff and maintain their hot hitting, they should be able to take the series. Wins in this series will be important, as the Canes look to maintain their position in the conference standings and to continue to climb up the national rankings.

The Canes play Clemson at 7 p.m. on Friday at Mark Light Field.

March 23, 2016

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Cody Brown


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