Baseball: Things Coming Together for Canes

Another weekend passes and with it goes another sweep for the Miami Hurricanes, this time over the Pittsburgh Panthers.

All told, UM has now won 12 games in a row, dating back to a midweek win against Florida Gulf Coast on March 26th. What's impressive to me isn't so much the winning streak in and of itself, but how they've gotten there.

During this streak, there has been an extra inning win against FGCU, two 2-1 wins over NC State, a come-from-behind 8-7 win against Virginia Tech, a 6-5 win against UCF that they almost gave away, and a 1-0, extra-inning win against Pitt.

In previous seasons, Miami would have found a way to lose many, if not all, of those games I singled out. The defense would have booted a grounder or sailed a throw to give up the winning run for the opposition. Or, the offense would have gone 0-for-the whole game with runners in scoring position and they would have gotten shutout in the games where just a couple of runs would do the trick. And they almost certainly would have finished off the bullpen meltdown in the game against UCF and dropped that one. But none of that stuff happened.

Instead, the defense has held, the pitching has continued to be solid from top to bottom, and the offense has been between opportunistic and very good, which is all it takes to win a bunch of games in college baseball these days.

The contributions have come from everywhere. The one-two punch of Chris Diaz and Andrew Suarez has been just about as good as any duo in the nation and after some uneven starts earlier in the season, Bryan Radziewski seems to have found himself of late. In the bullpen, the likes of Bryan Garcia, Cooper Hammond, and Thomas Woodrey have continued with business as usual.

There was quite a bit of hand-wringing and worry when it was made clear that David Thompson was going to miss significant time, but just about everyone in the lineup has stepped up to help fill in the gaps.

Willie Abreu has become the cornerstone of the offense in Thompson's stead and rightfully so. His freshman season has been nothing short of fantastic. Dale Carey, coming off a really tough junior season, has bounced back to be a leader on the offense. Zach Collins, who was struggling just to make contact a month ago, has turned it on lately. And even in the midst of a season where his batting average has suffered, Brad Fieger has managed to be productive, as he is second on the team with 24 RBI.

Looking ahead, it would appear that the Canes have a real shot to keep the ball rolling.

Coming up in the midweek, they take on a mediocre Florida Atlantic team before a series against Notre Dame, who is bringing up the rear in the ACC along with Boston College. After a tough series on the road against Clemson the weekend after that, they finish up with another midweek game against FGCU and series against Alabama State, Duke, and a surprisingly poor UNC squad.

If they take care of business as they should down the stretch, things will be set up nicely for the deep postseason run this program is now starved for.

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