The University of Miami made the big jump to the ACC because of football, but the reality is, the ACC is the best baseball conference in the nation.
With North Carolina, Georgia Tech and others, UM was faced with a tougher schedule than ever, but that does not even include arch rival Florida State, a team the ‘Canes played every year.
But FSU remains the team that UM wants to beat more than any other and the series that ‘Canes fans look forward to all season beyond the College World Series.
And guess who is coming to town. Those hated ‘Noles.
Coming off of five wins in their past six games, including taking 2 ½ out of three games at then seventh-ranked North Carolina, UM is currently ranked No. 5 in the most recent ESPN poll with a 29-9-1 record and 13-4-1 in the ACC, second behind Georgia Tech.
At the same time, Florida State has taken a bit of a dive after starting off on fire this season.
It ran concurrently to when the ‘Noles schedule became more difficult as they began facing more ACC opponents and hit the Light ranked No. 17 with a 33-11 record, but only 9-6 in the ACC.
But when these two titans meet, you can throw the records out the window.
Taking the mound when this great series renews Friday night at 7 p.m. is Cesar Carrillo who has still never lost a game when he's pitched for UM. His record this year is 9-0 with a miniscule 1.30 ERA.
The word dominant would not even fit how incredibly fantastic Carrillo has been this season, expected to be his last at UM as he is a sure-fire first round draft choice in June's Major League Baseball Draft.
Carrillo has struck out 71 in 69 innings and has given up only 50 hits and walked only 12 while running his winning streak to 19 games, a continuing UM record. Carrillo is only seven wins from tying the NCAA record set by Wake Forest's Kyle Sleeth from 2001 to 2003.
Taking the mound for Florida State in the opener is Mark Sauls who is 4-1 with a 3.27 ERA.
But beyond the need of good pitching which Miami will surely get in the opener, the ‘Canes bats have finally started to come back to life.
After scoring 36 runs while in Blacksburg two weekends ago in a sweep of Virginia Tech that included a 20-5 pasting and a 9-5 win, the ‘Canes bats kept swinging in Chapel Hill where the ‘Canes posted a 17-7 win, an 18-9 win and even though they tied the Tar Heels 7-7 in the finally, it was 42 more runs on the board.
And if history serves correct, the ‘Canes will need to score to win against Florida State as pitching duels are rare in this series of late with the winner of each game scoring 4 or more runs in the past eight meetings.
Even better for the ‘Canes is the emergence of Alex Garabedian who has caught fire of late. Only a freshman, Garabedian was named ACC Player of the Week.
He hit a ridiculous .700 over the three-game series in North Carolina. He scored six runs, drove in seven runs, had a .786 on-base percentage and had a 1.200 slugging percentage.
The big weekend jumped his average to .304 from .261.
It was the second weekend in a row that a ‘Cane was named ACC Player of the Week as Brendan Katin earned the honor following the sweep of the Hokies.
But with all that they have done hitting the ball, with a three-game set with the ‘Noles this weekend, the bats will need to keep putting the ball in play in order to send FSU back to Tallahassee with three more losses.
Friday – 7 pm – Cesar Carrillo (9-0, 1.30 ERA) vs. Mark Sauls (4-1, 3.27 ERA)
Saturday – 7 pm – Brandon Camardese (4-0, 5.45 ERA) vs. Barrett Browning (3-1, 2.39 ERA)
Sunday – 1 pm – Ricky Orta (6-2, 4.24 ERA) vs. Bryan Henry (3-2, 1.95 ERA)
Baseball Preview: #5 Miami vs. #17 Florida State
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