Miami looking to continue winning ways against Duke

Photo credit: Miami Athletics

Can the Miami Hurricanes extend their momentum through another home weekend series?

After a bruising sweep at the hands of rivals Florida State two weeks ago, the No. 19 Hurricanes have won four of five matchups, including a 21-1 thrashing at crosstown foe Florida International Wednesday night.

UM (13-8, 7-7 ACC) displays an anomaly ahead of its Atlantic Coast Conference series against Duke. They have a 4-5 home record, compared to a 9-3 record away from Mark Light Field. The Canes are looking for a new wave of consistency as they welcome the Blue Devils to town.

Duke comes into the weekend with an 11-10 record and a 5-7 ACC mark. They’re fresh off a Tuesday evening win over Liberty but have lost consecutive series at Notre Dame and against Georgia Tech in Durham.

[Duke] came into the season ranked in a lot of polls and we’re highly touted,” said Miami head coach Gino DiMare. “For whatever reason, I don’t know, they’re not playing up to where they thought they might be. But having said that, [they’re] still dangerous. We need to make sure we’re playing well. I’d like to think going into this series we are playing a little bit better.”

Miami is three matchups removed from getting shutout by Virginia in a Saturday loss while hitting a paltry .167. But in the Canes’ last contest against FIU, they exploded for 21 runs and each starter had at least one hit and one run.

The Hurricanes also look to solidify its starting pitching rotation. Freshmen Ajelandro Rosiario and Victor Mederos continue to be a consistent effective Friday and Saturday pair. Junior Jordan Dubberly meanwhile will enter his second career weekend start Sunday after throwing four and 2/3 frames of one-earned baseball in last week’s series finale at Virginia.

Cooper Stinson will start in Friday’s series opener. He allows a batting average of .158, lowest among qualifying Blue Devil arms. He takes an earned run average of 3.57 into the weekend as well as a 1.15 WHIP. The junior pitched just one frame last week due to muscle tightness after striking out the side in the first inning against Georgia Tech. In his previous start, he went five and 2/3 innings at Notre Dame, allowing three runs and three hits.

Henry Williams will pitch Saturday’s matchup for the Blue Devils, taking his 3.18 ERA and 1.08 WHIP into the contest. Williams leads Duke in innings pitched with 28 and 1/3, and threw seven frames without an earned run in his last outing against Georgia Tech.

Jack Carey is expected to take the ball Sunday. The junior has had his ups and downs in 2021, with a 7.72 ERA and a WHIP of 1.79. He pitched six innings of scoreless baseball on March 21 against Notre Dame, but lasted just three frames when facing Georgia Tech on March 28 after surrendering seven hits and four runs. Carey’s average start length is just south of three innings.

Duke displays some offensive firepower, especially at the top of the order. Junior RJ Schreck boasts a team-high .370 AVG, 1.096 OPS and five home runs. Junior Erikson Nichols is right behind, hitting .344 with a home run and an .872 OPS. Peter Matt, Chris Crabtree, Joey Loperfido and Will Hoyle are hitting above .280.

All three matchups will be available for streaming on ACC Network Extra and WVUM. Friday and Saturday’s matchups are slated for a 7 p.m. first pitch while Sunday’s series finale will start at 1 p.m.

After Duke, Miami’s attention will turn to FIU for the second midweek matchup against the Panthers in as many weeks, before the Canes’ next weekend series at Pittsburgh.