Miami’s baseball team exceeds fan expectations

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Redshirt junior first baseman Christopher Barr (17) prepares to hit during the Canes’ 7-4 win over Clemson Sunday afternoon at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field. Barr leads the team with seven stolen bases and is also second on the team with a combined eight sacrifice bunts and flies.

Redshirt junior first baseman Christopher Barr (17) prepares to hit during the Canes’ 7-4 win over UNC Sunday afternoon at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field. Barr leads the team with seven stolen bases and is also second on the team with a combined eight sacrifice bunts and flies.

The Hurricanes entered this season with great expectations, and those expectations have only soared higher over the course of the first half of the regular season. Miami has climbed all the way to No. 2 in several national polls, only trailing Florida. The Canes have posted an impressive record of 24-4 and have won 19 of their last 21 games, including their last eight in a row.

So, what has been the key to Miami’s success this season?

The answer is that the Canes are one of the best small-ball teams in the nation. While they do have one of the best power hitters in the ACC in junior catcher Zack Collins, everyone else in the lineup manufactures runs.

The Canes currently lead the ACC with 37 sacrifice bunts and have 16 sacrifice flies on top of that. The team also has plenty of speedsters and has racked up 24 stolen bases so far this season. No player has embraced this philosophy of small ball quite like junior first baseman Christopher Barr. A starter in all 28 games, Barr leads the team with seven stolen bases and hasn’t been caught stealing once this season. He is also second on the team with a combined eight sacrifice bunts and flies.

In addition, the Canes have brought their A-game against some of the best teams in the nation so far this season. They went 8-1 overall against three ranked ACC foes in Louisville, Clemson and North Carolina in the last three weekends and are in the driver’s seat to bring home the ACC regular season title. The only team that has beaten the Canes in a series this season is the top-ranked Florida Gators. That series was an early season matchup and Miami hadn’t quite hit its stride at the plate yet. The result could be quite different if the two meet each other again later in the year during postseason play.

Canes fans couldn’t have hoped for much more than what the team has given them through the first half of the season. Ever since last season’s disappointing ending in Omaha, the team’s goal has been to get back to the College World Series come June. If the first half of the season is any indication, the Canes are well on their way to Omaha.

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