Van Belle to Start ACC Championship Opener
May 21-26, 2019
ACC Baseball Championship | Durham Bulls Athletic Park | Durham, N.C.
DURHAM, N.C. – Redshirt junior Brian Van Belle will take the mound in Miami’s ACC Baseball Championship opener on Thursday afternoon at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Seeded No. 4 for the tournament, the Canes (38-17, 18-12 ACC) are joined by No. 5 North Carolina (38-17, 17-13) and No. 9 Virginia (32-22, 14-16). Miami is set to open play in the 2019 ACC baseball tournament at 3 p.m. on Thursday against Virginia. The Hurricanes will face North Carolina on Friday at 3 p.m. to conclude pool play. Both games will be broadcasted on FOX Sports and streamed live on Watch ESPN. For a list of affiliates, click HERE.
A Second Team All-ACC selection, Van Belle (8-2, 3.29 ERA) has been excellent in his first season as a Hurricane. The Pembroke Pines, Fla., native led the Canes with eight wins and had a 3.29 ERA and 71 strikeouts over a team-high 82 innings pitched. His eight wins are tied for third-most in the ACC, while his 82 innings pitch rank fourth in the conference.
Van Belle was joined on the All-ACC Second Team by redshirt sophomore catcher Michael Amditis and freshman UT Adrian Del Castillo, who also earned a spot on the ACC All-Freshman Team. Sophomore third baseman Raymond Gil was selected to the All-ACC Third Team.
Miami enters the ACC Baseball Championship ranked in the top 20 in every major poll. The Hurricanes held steady in the Baseball America Top 25 at No. 14 and moved up one spot to No. 16 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. The Canes moved up one position in the D1Baseball Top 25 to No. 17. Miami moved down three spots in Collegiate Baseball’s NCAA Div. I Baseball Poll to No. 15 and fell one spot in the NCBWA Division I Poll to No. 16.
After a four-homer weekend vs. Duke, the Canes have hit 73 home runs over 55 games in 2019. UM, which ended the regular season third in the ACC with 73 homers, matched its 2018 season total of 23 home runs after just 15 games in 2019. Miami’s 73 homers are the most since they hit 106 in 2010 and more than the combined team home runs from the previous two seasons (58, 35 in 2017 and 23 in 2018).
Sophomore first baseman Alex Toral is second in the ACC with a team-best 21 home runs, while Gil is second on the team with 11 homers. Twelve different Hurricanes have hit at least one home run in 2019. Toral has been especially hot over the final 10 games of the season, batting .417 (15-for-36) with four homers, a double and a team-leading 13 RBI to go with an impressive 1.254 OPS.
Miami added a recruiting class ranked eighth by D1Baseball and No. 10 nationwide by Baseball America to a group of 18 returning letterwinners from a 2018 team that finished 28-26 overall and 16-13 in ACC play.
Three members of Miami’s recruiting class were selected in the 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft; Del Castillo (36th round, White Sox), Anthony Vilar (37th round, Cubs) and Slade Cecconi (38th round, Orioles) all spurned professional overtures for a career at Miami after being selected in the 2018 MLB Draft.
Cecconi (#2), Del Castillo (#8) and Vilar (#48) were among the Top 50 Impact Freshmen in the ACC according to D1Baseball. Freshman LHP/UT JP Gates was ranked 10th among ACC freshmen. Baseball America rated Cecconi (No. 12), Gates (No. 16) and Del Castillo (No. 31) among the top 50 freshmen nationally.