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Baseball Announces 2021 ACC Schedule

by David Villavicencio

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami baseball team will play 36 Atlantic Coast Conference baseball games in 2021, with six home and six road series.

The 36-game conference slate is six more than previous seasons. While the increase in ACC games is new in 2021, all 12 conference series will be three-game sets, just as they have been in previous years.

“Every game is going to be huge this year and we’ve got to be ready to play,” head coach Gino DiMare said. “They’re all going to be a challenge, especially with the ACC moving up from 10 to 12 series. But if we’re going to be the program that I expect us to be at Miami and if we’re going to be the top team at the end of the year, we need to be able to play well and win these games, win these series and put ourselves in a good position to get to Omaha.”

After opening the season against a non-conference opponent on Feb. 19, Miami will play 12 ACC opponents over the following 13 weekends. Miami’s home opponents will be Virginia Tech (Feb. 26-28), Wake Forest (March 12-14), Florida State (March 19-21), Duke (April 2-4), Clemson (April 16-18) and Georgia Tech (May 14-16).

The Hurricanes will travel to NC State (March 5-7), Virginia (March 26-28), Pittsburgh (April 9-11), North Carolina (April 23-25), Boston College (April 30-May 2) and Louisville (May 20-22).

The only league opponent Miami will not face in 2021 is Notre Dame. The Canes have not faced the Fighting Irish since 2018, but were scheduled to travel to South Bend, Ind., last season before the COVID-19 pandemic cut the season short.

The Hurricanes full schedule will be announced in the near future. The Canes begin team practice on January 29.

To view Miami’s 2021 conference schedule, click HERE. All times are subject to change.

A year ago, under the direction of head coach Gino DiMare, the Canes went 12-4 (3-0 ACC) in the shortened season. Miami finished the season ranked as high as No. 5 by Baseball America and was in the top-15 of all six major pollsThe Canes came in at No. 7 in the D1 Baseball Top 25, USA TODAY Coaches Poll and NCBWA Top 25, No. 9 in the final Collegiate Baseball poll and No. 11 in Perfect Game’s final top 25.

Miami brings back one of the deepest lineups in the country, with eight of its nine starting hitters from a season ago returning to Coral Gables for the 2021 season.

Del Castillo headlines the potent Miami offense, as the third-year catcher is considered among the best prospects in the 2021 MLB Draft class. The Miami native has been a hitting machine in his two years at The U, hitting .336 with 24 doubles, 14 home runs and 87 RBI over 77 games played.

Alex Toral, who was the ACC home run king with 24 round-trippers in 2019, brings his big bat back to the heart of Miami’s lineup after hitting .296 with five home runs and 16 RBI in 16 games a year ago. Infielder Anthony Vilar (.297, 5 2B, 15 RBI) will look to continue his success in his third season at Miami, while outfielder Gabe Rivera, Tony Jenkins and Jordan Lala all return for another season with the Canes.

Veteran Daniel Federman brings experience to the pitcher’s mound, as the right-hander is back for a fourth season with the Hurricanes. A year ago, Federman had a 2.08 ERA, three saves and 11 strikeouts over 8.2 innings pitched as Miami’s closer, but he is expected to transition to a starter’s role in 2021. Graduate transfer Ben Wanger, who was a second-team All-American a year ago at USC (3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 8 K), is expected to take over as Miami’s closer this season.

In addition to the talented returners on Miami’s roster, the Hurricanes brought in the top recruiting class in the nation according to both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. The Hurricanes landed three top-100 recruits and two other top-200 players among Baseball America’s individual player rankings, leading the nation in both categories.

Right-handed pitcher Victor Mederos is Miami’s top-rated recruit according to Baseball America, coming in at No. 59 overall. Fellow right-hander Alejandro Rosario (60) and shortstop Yohandy Morales (77) make up the trio of top-100 prospects

Catcher Carlos Perez (137) and right-handed pitcher Jake Smith (146) round out the top-200 prospects, while outfielder/first baseman CJ Kayfus (344) gives Miami six of the top 350 prospects in the 2020 MLB Draft class, according to Baseball America.