In the 2010 season, the Canes swept the Scarlet Knights in the first series of the season, scorings at least nine runs per game. Miami definitely has the advantage of recent history and momentum.
In 2010, Miami’s average ERA was 3.68, while Rutgers’ was 5.90. The Hurricanes have lost all of last season’s weekend starters, but there is tons of potential in relievers-turned-starters E.J. Encinosa and Eric Whaley, as well as Friday night’s starting pitcher, true freshman Bryan Radziewski. Radziewski has impressed head coach Jim Morris all offseason.
Miami’s outfield is led by Zeke DeVoss and Nathan Melendres, both of whom have outstanding batting averages and fielding percentages. Chris Palaez is another strong performer for the Canes. However, Rutgers holds their own with Brandon Boykin and Michael Lang, who are equally as effective in their respective positions. Scarlet Knights outfielder Ryan Kapp was named to the pre-season All Big East team. The loss of Chris Palaez will hurt the Canes however.
Rutgers shortstop Steve Nyisztor was a member of the preseason All Big East team, and finished the 2010 season with a .410 batting average. Miami boasts sluggers Harold Martinez and Michael Broad, and overall should be more capable.
With the loss of Yasmani Grandal, the Hurricanes are relying on David Villaluso to step up. He’s been a strong performer in the past and should be able to lead the two new freshman catchers. For Rutgers, Jeff Melillo has been extremely solid behind the plate, leaving the teams looking just about even.
The Miami bullpen was shaky at times during the 2010 season, but retains some of its strongest pitchers. Tyler Gebler is the main threat for the Scarlett Knights, but with Daniel Miranda remaining in the closer role, the Canes should have the advantage there.
Darci Miller may be contacted at email@example.com