Matchup: Miami vs. Virgina Tech

Starting Pitching Advantage: Even

Both teams come into this Coastal Division clash with similar numbers in the weekend rotation. Sophomore Chris Hernandez found his groove and pitched well in his last three starts. He gives up a lot of hits but his stuff is so good he is able to work in and out of trouble. Junior David Gutierrez and sophomore Iden Nazario are coming off solid outings last weekend, each tossing 5.1 innings and allowing three runs against the potent UNC Tar Heels. Virginia Tech starter Justin Wright is in the top 10 in the ACC in ERA (3.45). VT’s three weekend starters are a combined 12-5 but have given up 13 home runs as a trio.

Bullpen Advantage: Miami

Miami freshmen Sam Robinson and Daniel Miranda pitch well in relief. Each has found their niche. Robinson’s sweeping side arm delivery baffles left-handed hitters, and Miranda is a hard thrower that can give the Canes length in the bullpen. Despite the fact that Kyle Bellamy picked up his first loss of the season last weekend, he is still the best closer in college baseball. Four different Hokie relievers have at least one save. They do not have a definitive closer.

Infield Advantage: Even

First baseman Jason Hagerty has been the Canes’ hottest hitter. He has at least one RBI in 12 of his last 15 games, entering last night. Over that span, he is hitting at a .389 clip. Shortstop Ryan Jackson feasted on Hokie pitching last year in Blacksburg, Va., as he went 5-for-11. Second baseman Scott Lawson leads the team in batting average, walks and doubles. All four Hokie infielders are hitting over .300. They are the reason VT is second in the ACC in team batting average (.327).

Outfield Advantage: Virginia Tech

Miami outfielders Chris Herrmann, Nathan Melendres and Dave DiNatale have shown flashes of brightness but have yet to provide consistency in the lineup. Virginia Tech right fielder Mike Kaminski is in the top 10 in the ACC in batting average hitting a shade below .400.

Intangibles Advantage: Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech had won eight games in a row until losing to Clemson on Sunday and blowing a lead in the ninth inning to William & Mary on Tuesday. The Hokies are a good road team, as they are 11-4 away from English Field. Miami has lost their last two weekend series. Miami has gotten contributions from different players in the lineup but are still looking for that one person to put the team on his back.

April 22, 2009


Justin Antweil

Senior Sports Writer

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