Miami Faces Familiar Foe in Fla. Gulf Coast

On Wednesday night at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field, the Miami Hurricanes will take on an opponent they are quite familiar with in Florida Gulf Coast University.

The Hurricanes play them every year and back on February 22nd of this year, the Canes beat them 3-0 in Fort Myers.

Miami is still very much the favorite going into this game, but they won't have their usual midweek starter, Steven Ewing, this time around. Because Bryan Radziewski has found his way out of the weekend rotation for one reason or another, Ewing has been moved out of the midweek role and into the rotation.

The Hurricanes have plenty of arms capable of handling the duties, but none of them have the track record of success that Ewing does. Back on February 22nd, Ewing threw seven shutout innings, giving up only one hit and two walks. Look for Christian Diaz or Javi Salas to get the start in his stead, but I imagine Jim Morris will have every available arm ready to make sure they lock down the win.

The Eagles of FGCU have struggled this season. There's just no other way to put it. Going into their game Tuesday against Florida Atlantic, they are 12-20 on the season and if it weren't for a win this past Wednesday against Florida State, they wouldn't have a single win that could be considered a quality win.

The Eagles have yet to name a starter for their game against the Hurricanes. I imagine it will largely be based on how they fare against FAU on Tuesday. For all their struggles, they do have some quality arms to throw at Miami.

Brandon Bixler is getting the start against FAU, so he's obviously not going to start against UM. Neither are weekend aces Ricky Knapp and Jason Forjet. Also out is Brady Anderson, who started on Saturday against Mercer. Even with those guys out of the picture, the Eagles are left with six pitchers who have started at least one game. This includes two guys, Jack English and Harrison Cooney, who have ERAs of 4.30 or under.

Their offense is another story, however. It's nothing short of anemic. Going into their Tuesday game, FGCU is hitting .222 as a team. No hitter has a batting average better than .278 and only two players are hitting better than .235. Whoever ends up pitching for Miami needs to focus on pounding the zone. The Eagles probably don't have the firepower to make them pay.

Their history of defensive breakdowns and fundamental mistakes make it hard to predict that Miami will win any game easily, but if there is a game they should handle without much effort, it's this one. The Eagles don't have the offense to hang with the Hurricanes and while they have some good pitchers on the staff, they will likely have to use up several of them in their game against FAU. Look for UM to win comfortably.

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