After months of anticipation, the Miami Hurricanes will finally take the field as they kick off a four-game series at home against Towson on Friday night at 7 p.m. Miami will play in its first non-intersquad contest since being eliminated in the regional round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
Since last season, the Hurricanes have seen a notable roster shift and against Towson, they will get a chance to show off the newest members of the young team. The 33-man roster features 13 freshmen. Moreover, there are 18 total new players.
“We just got so many guys that are going to be new in the lineup,” Hurricanes head coach Gino DiMare said.
The Hurricanes bring 16 pitchers to opening day, with four lefties and 12 righties. Sophomore Alejandro Rosario, a second team 2021 Perfect Game Freshman All-American, is expected to be the team’s number one option.
“I don’t really focus on what role I have, I just go out there and compete but it feels good to have that important role and that my teammates trust me,” Rosario said.
Through the Hurricanes practices, it appears Rosario and the other pitchers have held the advantage.
“We are scrimmaging ourselves and our pitchers have had the upper hand for the most part, as they should, I mean that’s our strength,” said DiMare, whose team boasts one of the top pitching staffs in the nation.
Rounding out the starting rotation for the double-header on Saturday and the game on Sunday, Miami is expected to send Carson Palmquist, Jake Garland, and Alex McFarlane to the mound.
Last season, Miami finished fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference in team ERA at 4.4, allowing only 158 walks and held opponents to a batting average of .245.
Conversely, Miami’s offense was not as effective, finishing ninth in the ACC. The team hit .263 but did notch a total of 313 runs on the board at sixth.
This season, UM will have to find a way to a way to replace one of its biggest losses of the last offseason, as outfielder Christian Del Castillo is no longer in the lineup. Del Castillo posted a .369/.439/.495 slash line and accounted for 40 RBI last season.
“We got to find a way to score runs, I know that,” DiMare said.
Towson fields 41 players on the roster, and many of those players have college playing experience as there are only eight freshmen. Last season, however, the team from Maryland was not as competitive as many others, finishing with a record of 21-36. Despite their struggles, the team did make the CAA tournament for the first time since 2013 for their 11-12 conference record.
Additionally, the team has lost a major piece of the starting rotation. Posting a 2.02 ERA alongside 53 strikeouts, Kody Reeser led Towson’s pitching staff last season but will not be playing this year.
Towson head coach Matt Tyner, once a four-year starter for UM, will hope that his team can balance out the 4-0 disadvantage they have in the all-time series against Miami.
Considering Miami’s storied baseball history, one that includes four national championships, the expectations are high for this season, and players seem to be excited to compete at the highest levels of the sport.
“It’s a dream of all of ours, and if we stay together as a team and stick together and do things together as a team, it will take us very far,” sophomore starting pitcher Jake Garland said.