Any of the baseball players wearing orange and green claim that this weekend’s series with Florida State is simply another series. Common sense dictates that those players aren’t telling the complete truth.
Last season, the Seminoles came into Coral Gables and swept the Hurricanes at Mark Light Field. Now No.11 ranked Miami is looking for revenge as it prepares to take on the No. 2 team in the nation.
The ‘Canes were able to win two out of their three games in Virginia this past weekend. On Sunday, however, UM suffered a 17-2 loss at the hands of the Cavaliers.
Head coach Jim Morris feels that Sunday’s loss to Virginia left the entire team with a bad taste in their mouths.
“The wheels came off for us on Sunday,” Morris said. “We didn’t pitch well or play good defense and it was not a good game for us.”
The Hurricanes decided to focus on the positives from the Virginia series instead of dwelling on Sunday’s blowout. The ‘Canes did enjoy a complete game victory by J.D. Cockroft on Friday night in what Morris called the team’s best performance of the year.
“On Friday we played very well on all levels,” Morris said. “J.D. pitched a great game, which was so important for us as far as setting the tempo for the rest of the series.”
Junior captain Jim Burt provided most of the offense for Cockroft on Friday, hitting two crucial home runs in a game where both pitchers were throwing well.
Burt felt that Friday’s game made an important statement about this year’s team.
“We had a big game as a team and I had a good game for myself,” Burt said. “It was a big park so it was hard to get the ball out of there, but I was able to. J.D. pitched a great game for us too.”
Another bright spot for the ‘Canes was the pitching of Brandon Camardese on Saturday, who had struggled mightily in his past couple of starts. The sophomore lasted 6.2 innings, a career-high for the lefthander.
Morris feels that Camardese is crucial to any postseason success his team may have.
“Brandon’s performance was big for him and our team,” Morris said. “We are going to need at least three solid starters when it gets near tournament time.”
The Seminoles currently lead the Atlantic Coast Conference with a record of 33-6 (11-4). FSU can credit their early success to their pitching staff, led by Daniel Davidson, who was recently named Pitcher of the Week in the ACC, and freshman Mark Sauls.
The head coach of the Seminoles, Mike Martin, ranks eighth on the NCAA all-time wins list with 1272 victories.
Morris feels that the rivalry between the two schools becomes more and more intense as the years go on.
“I think our rivalry with FSU is as heated as it has ever been,” Morris said. “Everybody knows what’s on the line when we play each other. This year we’re two of the top teams in the country.”
Morris will use the victories against Georgia Tech and Virginia to prepare his players on how to beat a highly-ranked ACC team.
“Against Georgia Tech we were able to turn some heads by sweeping them,” Morris said. “We also were able to take two games from Virginia, who was undefeated at home.”
Despite losing their most recent game by 15 runs, the ‘Canes head into this weekend’s series filled with confidence, and are ready to upset their in-state rivals and vault back into the top 10.
“We know what we have to do this weekend,” Morris said. “We have proven before that we can beat other top teams. We just need to play solid all-around baseball to win this weekend.”
-Eric Kalis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org