It all comes down to this weekend, the 11th-ranked Miami Hurricanes Baseball team is set to take on the 16th-ranked Duke Blue Devils in their home series finale of the 2023 regular season.
“Exciting time of the year. We got our last weekend series with Duke … The team is in a good position. We’re playing good baseball. Banged up a little bit, but our guys have stepped up. Our players have stepped up. It hasn’t been easy the way we’ve done it,” said Hurricanes coach Gino DiMare. “I’m sure you’ve seen how we’ve worked our rotation and we’ve won a lot of rubber matches games it seems like this second half with having to throw a lot of guys. Our pitching staff has really stepped up. The bullpen has stepped up a lot. Everybody has.”
There is a possibility they could secure a second seed berth this weekend, ahead of the upcoming ACC Baseball Championship, which begins on Tuesday. The 1st-ranked Wake Forest Demon Deacons (42-8) have already clinched the first seed for the ACC postseason.
The stage is set, and postseason implications are on the line for Miami, what do the Hurricanes need to do and ultimately to happen in order to claim first place in the ACC Coastal standings?
First, the Hurricanes have to sweep the Blue Devils in their upcoming series that begins on Thursday evening. Good fortune is on the Hurricanes side this time, they are playing the Blue Devils at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field, which means it’s a home game for Miami.
“We’ve been working hard all year and the moment has towards the end of the season but right now we’re just focused on [Thursday] and just winning that first game,” LifeWallet Athlete Yohandy Morales said. “They’re the ones that are coming into Miami and coming into our home field and the pressures on them so we’re here playing relaxed in front of our fans and we’re ready to come out here and win.”
The Canes are sporting an impressive 26-4 record on their home field this year, they have a clear advantage when they are not on the road (9-13 away record). Miami is coming off of a midweek victory over the FIU Panthers, where they posted a third-best record of the season with 17 runs.
“[We’re] playing I feel like some of our best baseball right now but hopefully we got more good stuff ahead of us,” Miami coach Gino DiMare said.
Miami’s bats are hot right now coming into the series, but the 2023 version of the Duke Blue Devils are very different from the 2022 team that was completely swept at home in a series by the Hurricanes a year ago. That Duke team had a losing record at 22-32, this year they are 34-17 and hold a 9-5 record on the road.
Although, yesteryear was yesteryear and today is today, Duke is currently riding a two-game losing streak and have lost three of their last five games. Miami on the other hand, they have won four of their last five contests and have not dropped a series since April 8th. The Hurricanes have won their last five series matchups and four of them were against ACC opponents.
Why does Miami need to sweep the series over Duke, you say? Well, the 21st-ranked Virginia Cavaliers currently sit atop the Coastal Division standings in first place. While they are tied at 16-11 in conference record play with the Hurricanes, they also have the tie-breaker over them at the moment because they defeated Miami in a series this season.
So, what is the second part? What do the Hurricanes need to happen on the Cavaliers end to claim the top spot in the Coastal? Miami needs Virginia to drop at least one game in their upcoming series against another ACC Coastal opponent, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
That’s all, really simple right? Well not exactly, because Miami has to win out and Virginia has to drop at least one game in their series or Miami has to win two and Virginia has to drop two; well, you get the picture, right?
“It’s big from the standpoint that we want to keep playing good baseball. I know I heard the guys say, I’ve mentioned to them and I want them to know, if we win our side of the division, we’ll be the No. 2 seed, even if Clemson is ahead of us. They need to all know how all this works because it is a little tricky how we do our pool play,” said Canes’ coach Gino DiMare.
There are three entirely different scenarios in which it could happen, and it will certainly be an exciting weekend for the Miami Hurricanes, in a top-25 showdown with the Duke Blue Devils. LifeWallet Sports will see you at the ‘Light’, Hurricane fans!
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