An early test for ‘Canes

The Miami Hurricanes come off a dominating two-game home-and-home sweep of Florida International and prepare to welcome the Winthrop Eagles for a three-game weekend series with special start times of 2 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

“We expect a veteran team,” Head Coach Jim Morris said. “They lost 3-2 to Nebraska for the right to [advance to] the College World Series. We need to be prepared for a competitive weekend.”

Morris said the team was very positive after two wins totaling a combined score of 22-3, and neither starting pitcher gave up a run in 11 innings.

“I thought out guys reacted well,” Morris said. “There was no pressure put on us; they didn’t bunt or hit and run, and until that happens we won’t know how good we are.”

Morris said he is concerned with the team getting too comfortable and wanted to make sure that it works harder during the week in practice.

“We work on the little things to score runs and prevent them from scoring,” Morris said. “Our first big inning results on a bunt which [FIU] botched.”

Miami must now turn its attention towards Winthrop, who is picked to finish first in the Big South conference.

“We are not going to take them lightly,” said pitcher Carlos Gutierrez. “It will be a better game out there, and it is always great to play a conference champion.”

Gutierrez will once again take the mound on Friday as the ace and face right-hander Heath Rollins, a preseason Collegiate Baseball All-American and Big South Player of the Year. When Rollins is not pitching, he will be playing in the outfield.

Manny Miguelez will face lefty Chase Edwards on Saturday. Edwards was 1-2 with an 8.10 ERA in 12 games last year. In the final game, Danny Gil gets the start against freshman righty Alex Wilson.

Gil had a strong outing in relief on Sunday, pitching two perfect innings while recording one strikeout. That outing had an impact on Morris’ decision to start Gil.

“It certainly helped,” Morris said. “We had been on the edge.”

While Miami is getting ready for this weekend, the Hurricanes have two big weekend series coming up at UCLA and home against top five Florida.

“We have some great teams to play against,” Gutierrez said. “But I am trying not to get ahead of myself and take it one game at a time.”

Denis Brown can be contacted at