Miami No. 18 In Collegiate Baseball's Poll

TUSCON, Ariz.- Fresh off its 11th College World Series appearance in head coach Jim Morris' 15 seasons at the helm of the University of Miami baseball program, the Hurricanes are ranked No. 18 in Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's Fabulous 40 Preseason NCAA Division I baseball poll announced Monday.

Overall, four Atlantic Coast Conference teams are ranked in the Top 20, with North Carolina coming in at No. 2, Florida State at No. 7 and Georgia Tech at No. 12. LSU will enter the 2009 season as the nation's top-ranked team in Collegiate Baseball's poll, while Rice, Georgia and Stanford round out the Top 5 behind the Tigers and the Tar Heels.

The 2009 Hurricanes will feature 19 returning players - including 16 letterwinners - from last year's team that reached the College World Series for the 23rd time in school history and finished with an overall record of 53-11. Among the players returning this upcoming season include three National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Preseason All-Americans in sophomore left-hander Chris Hernandez, junior shortstop Ryan Jackson and junior right-hander Kyle Bellamy.

In addition to the three preseason All-Americans on the roster, Miami also returns senior outfielder Dave DiNatale (.295, 9 HR, 43 RBI) and junior catcher/first baseman Jason Hagerty (.289, 8 HR, 38 RBI) to its lineup as well as junior right-hander David Gutierrez (5-0, 4.75 ERA, 40 K) to its rotation.

Joining the program this year is a 13-member signing class that was ranked as the No. 7 class nationally by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's annual evaluation of NCAA Division I baseball classes. Five pitchers and eight position players make up the class that includes nine players from South Florida, one from Central Florida and three from the state of Texas. All three players from the state of Texas enter the program via junior colleges, while nine of the 10 freshmen hail from either Dade, Broward or Palm Beach counties.

Last season, Miami was tabbed No. 14 in Collegiate Baseball's preseason poll before finishing the season at No. 5.

Miami opens its 2009 season at newly-renovated Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field on Friday, Feb. 20 against Rutgers. For ticket information for the 2009 season, call 1-800-GO-CANES, visit www.hurricanesports.com or email canestix@miami.edu.


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