Entering the season not many would have predicted the Miami Hurricanes - Virginia Cavaliers showdown in Charlottesville this weekend as the series that could decide the ACC Coastal race, but that’s where we are.
Despite thinking both would make the NCAA Tournament at the beginning of the season, D1Baseball thought both UVA and Miami would finish in the middle of the Coastal behind Virginia Tech and North Carolina. Could certainly still happen given UNC is just a half game behind Miami and UVA, but it is not looking likely.
Both teams enter the weekend with an 8-4 conference record, tied atop the ACC Coastal standings, and both have dropped just one of their first four ACC series.
The Hurricanes were swept by Wake Forest in Winston Salem at the end of March, but have since rolled off five straight victories including a fairly dominant sweep of Florida State last weekend. Their 20-9 overall record is good enough for 13 in the RPI (UVA is at 3), but they have a 4-6 record against teams in the Top 25 of the RPI. The Canes are sitting pretty in terms of a resume and D1Baseball has them as the No. 15 overall seed in their projections this week.
Their offense is lead by infielders CJ Kayfus and Yohandy Morales, both batting .346 with OBP over .400 and slugging over .550. Kayfus is one off the team lead for home runs with 7, just behind catcher Carlos Perez.
The weak point with the Hurricanes has been their starting pitching. This weekend they will roll out Gage Ziehl, Alejandro Rosario, and likely Karson Ligon, who is the current ACC Pitcher of the Week, but has not been announced. The three have a combined record of 9-7, but all feature an ERA of 4.25 or above with Rosario the worst of the three with an 8.27 ERA. Opponents are batting better than .200 against the trip despite striking out nearly once per inning.
The series should be good and looks like it could favor the Cavaliers given their power at the plate against Miami’s less than stellar starting pitching, but UVA’s pitchers will have to hold up their end against a stout Miami lineup.