The Hurricanes are geared up for their first official Atlantic Coast Conference series against North Carolina State. The teams will play three games beginning Friday and continuing through Sunday at the Mark Light Stadium.
After securing the first win of the series 12-1 last weekend, the ‘Canes suffered their first home loss of the season against George Washington in the second game, falling 5-4. The loss was not devastating to Miami, however, as it recovered to win Sunday’s rubber game 16-3.
“There wasn’t the usual amount of practice time prior to the George Washington game, but our team progressively played better as we talked about the mistakes that were made against UF and later GW,” said Head Coach Jim Morris. “We have to work through these things and move on but not forget the areas that need improvement.”
The offense shined during the series finale as junior third baseman Ryan Braun and sophomore first baseman Danny Valencia both hit three-run home runs. Stellar hitting performances continued for freshmen Walter Diaz and Alex Garabedian.
Preparation for the upcoming N.C. State series will vary this week from the typical afternoon practices due to an active calendar of events. The ‘Canes traveled to Jupiter on Tuesday to play against the Florida Marlins. The Hurricanes beat the Marlins 9-7 in the exhibition contest.
Games that occur during the week create a variety on the Hurricane schedule that will promote versatility in the team; they will have to learn to manage with less practice and more performance in its full week.
“We have to play one game at a time, so our focus will be on the next game instead of preparing for one series all week,” Morris said.
A complete rotation of all eight pitchers will not be seen against N.C. State. Instead, Cesar Carrillo, Dan Touchet and Chris Perez will be this weekend’s starters again. Carrillo was dominant last Friday, allowing only three hits and striking out nine batters in six innings of work. Perez overcame a rough start against Florida to last five innings, striking out eight and giving up only three runs to earn the victory.
The team is showing enthusiasm in meeting the challenges set before them over the next few days, including the series against N.C. State, who is no stranger to Miami. The teams previously met in regional playoff games, like their last encounter in June 2004 when the ‘Canes topped the visitors 19-5.
“We can’t really treat ACC games any differently than other game, so the focus on deep hitting and strong defense will remain,” Morris said. “We’re simply going to play our game. Each individual has to get on the field and perform to their abilities.”
This weekend’s series can be heard on WVUM 90.5 FM.
Stacey Arnold can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.