For the first time since its NCAA Tournament elimination by the Arizona Wildcats in June, Miami baseball played an organized and competitive game against another team.
Traveling up the Atlantic Coast, the Hurricanes participated in a 12-inning exhibition against the Florida Atlantic Owls on Saturday afternoon. The game finished with Miami ahead 13-11, an unofficial score.
“It’s good to play outside competition,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said. “All in all, it’s good playing everyone offensively, everybody got in the game, basically everyone got three at-bats.”
The ‘Canes hosted a regional in the NCAA Tournament as the No. 6 overall seed, but didn’t survive the first round. Each of the past seven times the Hurricanes had a national seed in the tournament, they made it to the College World Series.
“You just can’t let two games define your entire season,” DiMare said. “Every team has its own identity. I like this team, the fact that we have a lot of veteran guys with good leadership qualities, good character.”
The Hurricanes have a new group to run it back with, however, and the talent looked promising on Saturday.
Miami has a total of 19 new players. 12 are freshmen, and seven are transfers.
Among the notable freshmen, outfielder Kaden Martin had an RBI single on Saturday. Martin was ranked as the 67th best overall player in the United States for the class of 2022.
“Kaden’s been hurt most of the fall,” DiMare said. “It was good to see him get a hit but just hoping he can get healthy.”
Infielder Blake Cyr was another noticeable young talent for the ‘Canes on Saturday. He notched a double to the gap in right center field and was ranked as the fifth-best shortstop in the nation by Perfect Game.
“He is probably one of, if not our quickest guy on our team,” DiMare said. “He’s got some bat speed, he’s strong for a little guy. Defensively, he’s got some work to do but he’s a guy that we are very excited about.”
It wasn’t just a youth movement on Saturday, though, as the ‘Canes had some experienced transfers hit the field.
Dario Gomez, a senior transfer from Nevada, hit .316 in 2022, mashing seven home runs and 51 RBI.
“I would expect him to be a guy that’s going to be very valuable,” DiMare said. “Tough guy, from the old school.”
A 6-foot-4 transfer from Oregon, catcher Jack Scanlon notched a hit after working a full count, and the ‘Canes are expecting more of the same from him once the season starts.
“Extremely good arm, smart kid, left-handed bat,” DiMare said. “To have Jack and JD [Jones] certainly helps.”
It will be a big upcoming season for those such as outfielders Jacoby Long and Lorenzo Carrier, as well as pitcher Alejandro Rosario.
Long has seen a progressive workload over the past couple of seasons and enters his junior year with high hopes. He finished as a .250 hitter in 2022 in 48 at-bats.
“Jacoby had a great day. Jacoby is probably having as good a fall as anybody,” DiMare said.
Carrier, a young power bat standing at 6-foot-5, will return from an injury that ended his season after only 15 games. In those games, Carrier notched nine hits, two doubles and two home runs to help him get nine RBI.
“[Carrier] is a guy that we do have high expectations for. He is a right-handed hitter with a lot of power,” DiMare said. “He’s a guy that we would like to see in our lineup.”
Speaking of high expectations, Rosario entered 2022 with big standards after an award-winning 2021 season helped the Miami native earn the Friday night spot in the rotation early on. Rosario finished with a 7.05 ERA and was promptly removed from the ace role after struggling to keep opponents off the scoreboard.
In spite of his rough previous year, Rosario was sharp on Saturday. The right-hander worked for five outs in the sixth inning without allowing a player to reach base.
“He’s a guy that obviously we count on to be one of our guys,” DiMare said. “Last year was obviously disappointing, so hoping he can come back and pitch with a lot of confidence.”
Though Miami lost its best pitcher in All-Atlantic Coast Conference member Carson Palmquist to the MLB draft, it doesn’t seem that the coaches are asking Rosario to fill his shoes.
“Whether he is a Friday, Saturday, Sunday [guy], it doesn’t matter. He should be one of our weekend guys,” DiMare said. “He doesn’t have to be Carson Palmquist, he’s not that kind of guy anyways. Carson was a unique and different kind of pitcher. Alejandro needs to be Alejandro and have confidence in himself.”
Miami will start its 2023 season in February after finishing 40-20 in 2022. The ‘Canes will look to get back to the College World Series for the first time since 2016 and hope to win their first national championship since 2001.