Miami baseball demonstrated a ton of grit as it swept the 13th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels in its latest weekend series. Doing so against its Atlantic Coast Conference foe for the first time in six years, the Hurricanes knocked off a team that entered Coral Gables with the second-lowest ERA in Division I baseball.
With now a No. 13 ranking – its highest all season — Miami has restored its consistency and drive seen in its best start to a season since 2013, before hosting a top-15 Florida team in mid-February.
As the most impressive series for the Canes so far this season, here are a few takeaways from their first ACC sweep…
1. Miami’s bullpen can match up against any other in the ACC
The Tar heels bullpen is a big reason for the success that they have been having this season and is a clear strength of theirs. However, the Canes’ bullpen showed class as they were crucial in all three of the games; it was most demonstrated in Sunday’s 14-inning 3-2 win. Five relievers were able to retire the last 13 UNC batters and only allowed two hits in nine innings.
“We’re still finding ourselves, but game told me a lot about our bullpen,” Miami coach Gino DiMare said Sunday. “We need more guys to step up and a lot of them did today.”
All bullpen pitchers combined for 19 strikeouts in 17 innings through the series. Junior relief pitcher Alejandro Torres (2-0) and sophomore reliever Anthony Arguelles (1-1) were each able to pick up wins on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
2. Sophomore Yohandy Morales showed how dominant he could be on both sides
The Friday and Saturday games were both monstrous games for Morales, who went 4-for-4 with three RBI on Friday and 3-for-5 on Saturday with two RBI. Friday’s performance was the first time Morales has had four hits in a game, which included a three-run home run that created a 6-1 lead for the Canes.
“All his swings looked good. When he was taking pitches he looked really good, he was under control. Usually, when you see your hitters doing that, he is probably going to put a good swing on the ball and that is what he did today,” DiMare said of Morales’ performance Friday.
Morales has demonstrated improvement in his hitting this season, making a whooping jump from a .284 average last season to .325 this season. His confidence could certainly build even more after those performances and he could improve to become one of the ACC’s best hitters.
3. The team is having a lot of fun, and it’s evident
One of the most important facets of sports is the ability to enjoy the competition, and this team showed it in the victories. Seeing everyone parade around freshman Renzo Gonzalez as he hit the game-winning RBI on Sunday showed the culmination of the joy that the team brings within themselves and the fans.
After a dominant start in Friday’s game Sophomore pitcher Carson Palmquist stated he was “just going right after hitters, having fun and keeping the ball down in the zone.”
“Whenever my teammates are putting runs on the board, it takes stress off my shoulders. It helps me lock in and get in cruise control,” Palmquist added.
The overall success that the team has is coming from each other’s ability to have confidence to bring success on the scoreboard, and it certainly is working. UM’s record of 17-6 is its best 23-game start since 2016, and sweeping the No. 13-ranked team clearly uplifts its confidence levels even more.
The Canes aim to continue their success against Florida Gulf Coast University 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Swanson Stadium in Fort Myers, Florida, before traveling to face Duke this weekend.