‘Canes ready for home stretch

After dropping two out of the three to the Elon Phoenix last weekend, the Miami Hurricanes will look to rebound with a huge series against the Florida State Seminoles this weekend.

The Hurricanes (17-13) lost the first two games of the Elon series, 3-2 and 11-8 respectively, and were trailing heading into the bottom of the ninth inning of the third game.

With a potential sweep lingering, Javy Rodriguez hit a two-RBI single in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded to lift the ‘Canes to the 5-4 win Sunday.

“I wanted to come up with the bases loaded because I knew if I put the ball in play, we were going to get a run,” said Rodriguez.

One positive from the series with Elon was the ‘Canes starting pitching, as they got two stellar outings from Vince Bongovanni on Friday and Dan Touchet on Sunday.

Bongovanni set a career high Friday with eight strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings, but he took the hard luck loss in the game. On Saturday, usually reliable starter T.J. Prunty struggled. Dan Touchet gave the ‘Canes everything they hoped for in Sunday’s win when he went 6 2/3 innings and allowed just five hits and one earned run while striking out seven.

The bad news for the ‘Canes pitching staff is that starting pitcher Troy Roberson will be out a couple of weeks due to an elbow injury. Kiki Bengochea will get the start this weekend against the Seminoles in his place.

“Troy is out for a couple weeks. He has some problems with his elbow, but hopefully he will be OK,” said Coach Jim Morris.

The ‘Canes head into their series with the Florida State Seminoles desperately needing wins against the No. 10 Seminoles who sit at 28-10 on the season.

“FSU is a great team. We have to go up there and try to win this series with them,” said shortstop Javy Rodriguez.

If the Hurricanes want to win in Tallahassee, they will have to play much better defensively. Miami made 10 errors in just three games against Elon.

“We have struggled defensively all season. We have to play good defense if we want to win consistently,” said Morris.

Another struggle for the Hurricanes so far this season has been leaving runners on base. Miami left double digit runners on base on Friday against Elon. If the Hurricanes want to beat the Seminoles, they will need to make plays when it counts.

“We have to get big hits in big situations. When we have the bases loaded with two outs, we have to do it there,” said Rodriguez.

The Seminoles are one of many nationally ranked teams that Miami will play in April, and if the ‘Canes want to rebound and make the postseason, they will have to beat good teams to get there.

“I told the guys after the game that the bad news is we have the toughest April of anybody in the country, but the good news is we have the toughest April in the country and if we can’t beat people who are ranked, we don’t deserve to be in there,” said Morris.

A win against the Seminoles this weekend would be a great start to the month of April and would go a long way to helping the Hurricanes get back on track. The Hurricanes are going to look for everyone to step up and play their best baseball. Every game with the Seminoles is important, and simply put, the ‘Canes must find a way to win.

“We need to win the series. We have to pitch well and play better defense, along with getting more timely hitting. We have a lot of guys struggling in our lineup right now. . . Some of those guys have to get hot,” said Morris.