Canes Baseball Climbs to No. 1
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – After a sweep of Rutgers on Opening Weekend, the University of Miami baseball program rose up the rankings, reaching as high as No. 1 in polls released Monday.
The Hurricanes (3-0) jumped up two spots to No. 1 in the D1 Baseball Top 25 and rose two spots to No. 2 in Collegiate Baseball’s NCAA Div. I Baseball Poll. Miami moved up two places to No. 3 in the Baseball America Top 25 and climbed one spot to No. 6 in the Perfect Game Top 25. The Canes made their biggest move of the week in the NCBWA poll, vaulting three spots to No. 2.
Miami is ranked No. 1 in a poll for the first time since 2016, when the Hurricanes held the top spot in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, Baseball America Top 25 and Collegiate Baseball Poll for two consecutive weeks beginning on April 11 and again on April 18. The Canes were a consensus No. 1 team on April 11, 2016, also holding the top spot in the NCBWA poll.
The Hurricanes swept their three-game series against the Scarlet Knights, with Friday’s game featuring an outstanding pitching performance by team captain Brian Van Belle and Saturday and Sunday’s games getting some offensive firepower to back the strong starting pitching.
Van Belle was excellent Friday night in his first Opening Day start, fanning a career-best 10 batters while allowing just four hits over six shutout innings. Fellow team captain Adrian Del Castillo delivered the game-winning hit in the third inning, smacking a two-run single up the middle to put the Hurricanes ahead, 2-0. Closer Daniel Federman shut the door on his first save of the season, wrapping up a 2-1 win on Opening Day.
Miami’s bats came alive in Game 2, as Del Castillo clubbed two homers and a double in a 3-for-4, three RBI game that paced a four-homer day by Miami. Gabe Rivera’s grand slam in the bottom of the seventh just before the game was halted due to inclement weather put the Canes up big, 7-2, and JP Gates added a solo homer shortly after play resumed on Sunday to wrap up the 8-2 victory. Junior right-hander Chris McMahon earned the win after he held Rutgers to two runs on five hits over six innings and striking out nine batters – one shy of his career-best.
Sweep Sunday came after a 13-6 victory that featured an incredible pitching performance by sophomore Slade Cecconi, who tossed 5.1 no-hit innings before finishing his day allowing just one run on two hits over six innings while striking out eight Scarlet Knights. Del Castillo got the scoring started for the third consecutive day, ripping RBI single in the first inning. Seven different Canes drove in runs, led by Anthony Vilar’s three RBI.
The Hurricanes return to action Wednesday, Feb. 19, when Miami hosts Kent State in its first midweek matchup of the 2020 season. First pitch between the Canes and Golden Flashes is set for 6 p.m. For tickets, click HERE or call 305-284-CANE.