Miami baseball returns to Gainesville for NCAA Tournament regional

CORAL GABLES, FL - FEBRUARY 28: (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
CORAL GABLES, FL - FEBRUARY 28: (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /

The Miami baseball team will begin its quest for their first trip to the College World Series in Omaha since 2016 in the Gainesville Regional. Miami won two out of three at Florida in February. The Hurricanes open regional play against South Alabama (33-20). The Gators begin the NCAA Tournament against South Florida.

Florida enters the NCAA Tournament as the top seed in the regional with a 38-20 record. The Gators finished 17-13 in the SEC. South Florida was 28-27, 14-14 in the American Athletic Conference. Florida and South Florida open regional play on Friday at noon Miami and South Alabama are scheduled for 5 PM.

Miami will be on the road for their second straight NCAA Tournament trip. Following their 2016 trip to Omaha Miami missed the 2017 and 2018 NCAA Tournament. Miami finished the 2021 season 32-19 overall, 21-15 in the ACC. The Hurricanes finished second in the ACC Coastal a half-game behind Georgia Tech.

The Hurricanes missing the 2017 NCAA Tournament ended a streak of 44 consecutive NCAA Tournament bids. The 44-year streak is the all-time NCAA record across all sports. The Miami Baseball team finished the regular season 26th in the RPI. Florida is 17th in the RPI, South Alabama 58th and USF 105th.

After winning eight out of 10 games entering the ACC Tournament, Miami lost both games in Charlotte. The Hurricanes were the top seed in Pool D. Fourth-seeded Miami lost to ninth seed Duke and fifth seed Florida State. Duke defeated Miami on Thursday following a walk-off home run. Miami lost 6-3 to FSU.

The Hurricanes will need more consistent hitting in the NCAA Tournament. Miami is tied for 149th nationally with a .266 batting average. Pitching has been more consistent. Miami ranks 66th with a 4.33 ERA. The Hurricanes have been an average power team. Miami’s 1.06 home runs per game are 76th nationally.

Miami is 91st averaging 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings. With a .973 fielding percentage the Hurricanes are 72nd. Miami is in the top quarter of college baseball in everything but batting average of the categories listed. The Jaguars are 23rd nationally with a 3.83 ERA, which is slightly ahead of national top-seeded Arkansas.

Opposing hitters have a .238 batting average against South Alabama pitchers. The ace for South Alabama is JoJo Booker who enters regional play 7-0 with a 3.66 ERA. Miami is going to need more consistency from its starting pitching in the postseason. The Hurricanes have used eight starters on the mound in 2021.

Next. Miami swept out of ACC Tournament by FSU. dark

If the Miami baseball team holds the lead late they are likely to win. Closer Carson Palmquist tied for second nationally with 13 saves. Palmquist allowed 20 hits and six walks with 72 strikeouts in 41.1 innings. The Hurricanes offense relies on balance with six regulars hitting .260 or better.