Sports

Baseball Preview: Mood in dugout is light as ‘Canes ready for NC State

After three final at-bat wins in the last four games, the Miami Hurricanes come into this weekend’s series against North Carolina State riding a wave of momentum. The mood in the dugout is noticeably lighter as of late, and the team seems to be pulling together with 20 games left in the season.

While Miami remains in the middle of the pack in the ACC, they can improve their position by beating the Wolfpack this weekend, as the Pack sits higher than the Hurricanes in both the ACC and NCAA rankings.

“We’re kind of in the middle of the pack, but if we keep winning series we’ll move up in the ACC, and you can see we’ve been moving up the standings,” third baseman Gus Menendez said. “We’ve just got to keep playing good baseball. I feel like we’re playing pretty good ball and we just have to keep it rolling.”

North Carolina State does not have the same national legacy as the teams Miami has played of late, such as Clemson and Georgia Tech. However, they do feature the probable first overall draft pick in the Major League Baseball draft in 6’10” pitcher Andrew Brackman, formerly of ACC basketball stardom. Pair him with a potent lineup and the Wolfpack have themselves ranked higher than traditional powers throughout the ACC.

“NC State is actually ranked above both us and Georgia Tech in the standings,” Head Coach Jim Morris said. “Their RPI is 28 and they are above us in every way right now. This series will be a big time challenge and they play very competitive baseball.”

The ACC is proving to be a big time stage this year, as almost every team can make a case for the NCAA tournament at the end of the season. It is now time for the Hurricanes to prove whether they are the stars of the scene or merely players upon the stage.

“They might not be a national powerhouse, but they are just as good a team as any,” Menendez said. “We’re not at the top of the ACC so there is no reason for us to be lackadaisical. We have to be competitive. Our goal is to be at the top of the ACC and we are still at the middle. We just have to play ball and it doesn’t matter who we’re playing.”

Dan Stein may be contacted at d.stein@umiami.edu.

April 13, 2007

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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