A top 10 clash will go down at Russ Chandler Stadium this weekend as Miami faces Georgia Tech. Miami has won eight of the past 10 games against the Ramblin Wreck. These next two weeks will be a tough litmus test. On Thursday afternoon I caught up with head coach Jim Morris, pitching coach JD Arteaga, third baseman Harold Martinez, and catcher Yasmani Grandal. Below are what they are saying.
Below are some of the ideas and quick nuggets on what the players are saying. The quotes are paraphrased.
Morris: Weekend rotation is Hernandez on Friday, Santana on Saturday, and David Gutierrez on Sunday. Erickson is not traveling to Atlanta. He is rehabbing and resting. Erickson hopes to pitch next week. He is fine just sore and we want to just give him another week. This will be the toughest start for Gutierrez because Georgia Tech is a great hitting team. Frankie Ratcliff’s wrist is a lot better. He got the off day Saturday against Barry and there was no practice Sunday and Monday due to finals. On Tuesday he had a great [batting practice]. I feel like we need to win the next two series to get a national seed which means hosting not only a regional but a super regional as well. I’m sure the bullpen learned from the FSU series. We won’t play in a more hostile environment than we did up there but this will be a challenge.
Arteaga: Whoever made the ACC schedule knew what they were doing because the three best teams will be battling it out the final two weeks. We are going to give Erickson another week off. He had an MRI and there was no structural damage. But Gutierrez is ready to compete. He pitched well against two tough teams in FAU and FGCU so he will be ready and he has always been good. Santana is just competing this year. We always knew he had this potential it is a matter of staying healthy. Travis Miller is coming along real nicely and we expect him to be a valuable piece in the middle relief role. I think this team is a lot mentally tougher because the fall boot camp was the most rigorous one we have had.
Martinez: I don’t feel pressure [hitting behind Yasmani] because I get to see more pitches and drive in more runs because he is always on base. I feel like winning these next two series will get us to host a Super Regional. I feel so much stronger this time this year than this time last year. Last year I got tired and kind of struggled at the end. I have shown more discipline this year as well which is good.
Grandal: We learned [in the FSU series] that as an offense we need to keep scoring runs. We cannot leave the game in the pitchers hands. We left too many men on the bases and we need to capitalize.
I’ll have the call on WVUM this weekend so keep it locked. For those of you that get CSS, the games will be televised all three nights as well. So mute the TV commentators and sync WVUM to the TV. Listen in Dade county on 90.5 FM or across the globe on wvum.org
Justin Antweil may be contacted at email@example.com.