Canes primed to open ACC slate against Boston College

Sophomore pitcher Jake Garland pitches at the top of the third inning of Miami’s game versus Florida at Mark Light Field on March 6, 2022.
Sophomore pitcher Jake Garland pitches at the top of the third inning of Miami’s game versus Florida at Mark Light Field on March 6, 2022. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

While the sting of last weekend’s series loss to rival Florida still looms, the lights will once again illuminate at Mark Light Field. Miami baseball kicks off a three-game series versus Boston College to open Atlantic Coast Conference play on Friday.

On Tuesday, the Hurricanes (9-3) defeated their crosstown opponent Florida International 12-5 in their first road game of the season, after dropping the final two games of their previous series to the Gators.

Sophomore starter Alex McFarlane threw four innings, surrendering three hits, two earned runs and two walks while striking out three batters in 60 pitches.

The Hurricanes’ offense entered the top half of the seventh inning down one run but left the inning up eight. Miami saw large production from the top half of the lineup as Jacob Burke, Yohandy Morales and Maxwell Romero Jr. combined for eight RBI.

“We got a lot of things we have to do better. We have to throw more strikes, walking too many guys, made a few errors,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said. “We’re not receiving and catching the way I want us to. We should always be happy with a win, but we have to learn from this and get a lot better.”

The upcoming weekend series will be the first against an ACC opponent in Miami’s young season, marking the first of many conference matchups to come.

The expected starters for the weekend series will be sophomore lefty Carson Palmquist on Friday, freshman Karson Ligon on Saturday and Jake Garland should have the bump to start on Sunday.

Palmquist has yet to lose in three starts and has totaled a 1.17 ERA while striking out 22 batters.

Sophomore Alejandro Rosario, a 2021 Perfect Game Freshman All-American last season, will again not be in the rotation. The Miami native was initially at the top of the Hurricanes rotation but has struggled in his two starts, allowing 10 earned runs in just nine innings.

There is concern that Rosario could be nursing an injury, too.

“His arm is tired. We watched him on Friday, he’s a mid-90’s guy that can get it up even higher, sometimes [he] can get up to 97, 98. His velocity drops down to the upper 80’s,” DiMare said before the Hurricanes series against Florida.

Boston College (5-6) enters the matchup having already played several road games. In 11 total games, the Eagles have played 10 games on the road and once at a neutral site.

The team, however, has not been entirely dominant on the diamond. Yet to start conference play, Boston College has struggled to keep opponents off the scoreboard. In just its first series at Austin Peay, the team lost the last two of the series despite scoring nine and 17 runs in games two and three, respectively.

Eagles pitchers hold a 6.75 ERA through the first 11 games and have an 82-51 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Last game out, the Eagles surrendered 11 runs to South Florida.

For the first game Friday, Boston College is expected to pitch ace Joe Mancini, the right-hander with a 2-0 record and 2.3 ERA as one of the few bright spots on the mound for BC so far. On Saturday, Sean Hard, a 6-foot-5-inch freshman, will get the ball first. Hard has 16 strikeouts and a 6.75 ERA in 10 2/3 innings so far this season. To round out the weekend, senior Mason Pelio will make his second start of the season.

Miami leads the all-time series against Boston College 25-10 and has only lost twice to its opponent at Mark Light Field.

The first pitch of Game Two Saturday is set for 7 p.m., the same time as Friday, with Sunday’s game time slated for 1 p.m.