After an emphatic weekday win over PC, Clemson heads on the road to Coral Gables to play Miami.First pitch will be at 7pm EST on Friday and Saturday with a 1pm EST first pitch on Sunday. All 3 games will be available through the Clemson Athletics website and should be watchable on ESPN3.
Last year Miami was a talented ACC team that made an excellent run into the College World Series before falling to Florida twice. This Miami team seems to be in an excellent position to make the NCAA Tournament again, they already have 16 wins, they've played midweek games ever since the season started, and only 4 losses. This will easily be the biggest test Clemson has faced all year and should give us an idea of just how effective Seth Beer and company can be.
For Miami, the offense starts with catcher Zack Collins. He's the team leader hitting .421 with a slugging percentage of .754 including 22 RBIs. Behind him infielder Johnny Ruiz and outfielder Carl Chester are potent hitters at .366 and .342 batting averages respectively. The Hurricanes aren't much of a power team, they have only hit 13 home runs and 35 doubles this year, but have nearly 190 hits for a solid .293 batting average. Unsurprisingly their team slugging percentage is low at .413. I think Clemson will be able to limit Miami if they can play solid defense. Miami seems to generate successful with a more small ball approach and if our pitching staff continues to perform Clemson should win this series.
On the mound, Clemson will likely face Danny Garcia, Michael Mediavilla, and Jesse Lepore this weekend though Thomas Woodrey could make a start as well. Mediavilla and Lepore have not lost a game this season and both report ERAs below 3.00. Garcia seems to be the true ace of the staff with a 1.78 ERA even though his record is only 3-2. Garcia does not boast an extremely impressive strikeout to walk rate, but he has been able to limit his hits allowed. That means Clemson is likely going to be able to make contact on Garcia, the question is going to be how good that contact is. Miami has a decent defense making it up to Clemson to make good contact to put the ball in play rather than hoping for defensive issues to gift the team opportunities.
Clemson could have a tough time with the long ball against Miami, Woodrey has allowed 6 home runs, but the other 3 pitchers combined have allowed only 5 home runs in 15 games, not exactly great odds for Clemson.Seth Beer and Weston Wilson will be tested here. Thankfully the combination of two deadly hitters means that Beer is likely going to see some good pitches this weekend unless Miami decides to pitch around both players.
On defense Clemson is also going to want to guard against the steal. Miami has attempted 30 stolen bases this year, though they are only successful 50% of the time. But it is fair to say Miami will try to run 1-2 times each game to try and pick up an easy base. Given some of our defensive play this could be a worry and Chris Okey is going to have to be alert.