Sims: Baseball Weekend Takeaways vs. Florida

Junior second baseman Dorian Gonzalez, Jr. calls himself safe before getting to first base during the series opener against No. 4 Florida.

In front of amazing crowds at Mark Light Field, the Miami Hurricanes lost their weekend series with the fourth-ranked Florida Gators but put up a competitive fight. After losing the opening night, Miami responded with a huge win on Saturday. UM was unable to secure a victory in the rubber match.

Here are three takeaways from the Hurricanes’ first series loss of the season.

‘Canes can play with anyone

Miami showed heart in all of these games against an impressive Gators team. The Hurricanes were able to start fast and hold off the Gators for a while until they pulled away late.

In game two, Miami came out swinging and took the early lead against the Gators. This time, though, the Hurricanes kept it. Led by strong starting pitching and efficient hitting, Miami was able to get a marquee win early on in the season.

The team was not able to keep the energy up in the final game, as aside from co-captain Dorian Gonzalez Jr.’s grand slam, the Hurricanes’ bats were pretty quiet.

“I don’t think we were outclassed in any way,” Miami head coach J.D. Arteaga said. “There are little things in the game of baseball that you have to do in order to win when you’re matched up against a good team, and we didn’t do those things.”

This should give Miami confidence that it can play with any team in the country. Battling in these games against tough opponents early on in the season will pay off down the line for the ‘Canes.

“We’re working our tail off,” Arteaga said. “We’re going to continue getting better and we’re going to keep fighting, every inning, every pitch, every at-bat. It’s right around the corner. We’re going to get to where we need to be.”

Miami might be a little too reliant on the long ball

While hitting home runs is fun, Miami might be banking on homers to fuel its offense a bit too much.

14 of the 17 runs that Miami scored during the weekend series were by way of the long ball. While it’s exciting and gets the crowd on their feet, that is not sustainable throughout the season. Miami must find a way to score runs in other ways more consistently.

Starting pitching solid again

All three of Gage Ziehl, Rafe Schlesinger and Herick Hernandez were impressive in their starts.

Schlesinger delivered a key Saturday win, as he struck out 11 batters and set the tone for the team. All three starters only let up three runs to an incredibly dangerous Gator offense.

If these three can keep delivering quality starts as the young Miami bullpen develops, the ‘Canes could have an elite pitching staff in every weekend series.

Miami (6-5) welcomes Stonehill to the Light next Wednesday. The first pitch for that game is set for 6 p.m. and can be seen on ACC Network.