Baseball, Sports

Miami baseball moves up to No. 1 spot with 11-game winning streak

It’s unanimous. According to every major national poll released on Monday, the Hurricanes are the top team in college baseball. Miami was a consensus top-five team last week, but the Canes moved up to the top spot in the polls for the first time since June of 2008 after previous No. 1 Florida lost a home series to Mississippi State over the weekend.

Miami Head Coach Jim Morris congratulated his players on the No. 1 ranking, but he wants accolades at the end of the season, not just in the middle.

“They don’t give trophies at midpoints, and we just try to put ourselves in a good position,” Morris said after the team’s 8-3 win over Nova Southeastern on Tuesday. “It’s great to be ranked No. 1, but what matters is at the end.”

The Hurricanes are currently riding an 11-game winning streak and have won 22 of their last 24 games. Miami is 22-3 at home this season, with the only losses coming against then-No. 1 Florida (twice) and then-No. 4 Louisville. The Canes (26-4, 11-2) have won every series this year, except for the second one of the season versus the Gators back in February.

“We’re doing a great job. Let’s keep ourselves in the top five and let’s go out and play every game just the way we’ve been playing,” Morris said about his message to the team about the No. 1 ranking. “We got to continue doing what we’re doing as a team, and I think as a team we’ve played well.”

This Hurricanes group hardly resembles last year’s offensive juggernaut that went to Omaha. While the 2015 team was arguably the best offensive squad in the country, the Canes this year dominate opponents with sound, fundamental small-ball.

Led by junior catcher Zack Collins and his nation-best .588 on-base percentage, the Canes get on base with walks and singles and then move into scoring position on sacrifice bunts. Miami leads the ACC and is fifth in the country with 42 sacrifice bunts this season, along with 18 sacrifice flies. The Canes only have 15 home runs, one more than Clemson freshman Seth Beer has by himself, but they have manufactured enough runs to win more games than any other team in the ACC.

On the defensive end, the Canes let the other team make the errors and then capitalize on those mistakes. Opponents have committed 32 more errors than Miami has this season, and the Canes are sixth in the country with a .982 fielding percentage.

The Canes will look to extend their winning streak this weekend in Durham, North Carolina, as they take on Duke in a three-game series.

April 14, 2016

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Mark Singer


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