The Miami Hurricanes, beginning with this weekend’s three game series against the Fordham Rams, will look to continue their momentum before beginning Atlantic Coast Conference play.
The Rams are the type of team that has given the Hurricanes a hard time this season, as the young, highly touted ‘Canes have had a tendency to look past the lesser-known programs on their schedule in anticipation of the bigger stages.
If the ‘Canes look past the Rams this weekend, they can be sure to see the same type of results they found when they dropped two games to Mercer and one to Elon, teams which they were expected to sweep handily. It would be beneficial for the young team to win between now and their series at North Carolina, to be played Mar. 9-11. The momentum that would be generated from these wins would boost the team’s win-loss record and help them combat the tendency to wilt when things to do go as planned.
The true test for a young team like this is not the big series against highly-ranked opponents, such as North Carolina, but the trap games that are scheduled before those teams, such as the Fordham series.
There are several players who will undoubtedly make big impacts this weekend, but some have been inconsistent early on in the season.
Pitcher Scott Maine, the supposed “ace” of the staff, followed up a stellar outing against UCLA with consecutive rocky outings against Florida and Elon, taking the loss in both of those games. Whether or not he can get back on track will not only affect this weekend’s series but also the entire season. Team morale is noticeably higher when they know their ace is on, and Maine’s success is therefore much more valuable then what can be measured in his ERA.
While Maine looks to get back on track, first baseman Yonder Alonso and second baseman Jemile Weeks look to stay hot, as the two celebrated players are carrying an offense that has been inconsistent, to say the least. However, as long as the leadoff hitter and the resident slugger can stay on track, the rest of the lineup should soon follow, as there is simply too much talent for this team to not become more consistent when it comes to advancing runners and hitting with runners in scoring position.
One such example of a talented newcomer who is starting to come around is third baseman Mark Sobolewski, who had an outstanding weekend against Elon and looks to provide the big bat that is desperately needed to provide protection for Alonso in the lineup. With a six RBI Saturday night, Sobolewski made it clear that he is starting to live up to the hype that comes with being a high school All-American.
The Hurricanes must maintain their focus this weekend in order to sweep the series against an unranked, but formidable team and sustain a momentum that will lead them into the toughest part of their season.
Dan Stein may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org