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College Preview Capsules: No. 6 Miami

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No. 6 Miamimiami
2015 Record (Ranking): 50-17 (6). RPI: 1.
Coach (Record at school): Jim Morris (981-381-3, 22 years)
Postseason History: 44 regionals (active streak: 43), 24 CWS trips (active streak: 1), 4 national titles (last in 2001).
Led by its powerful bats, Miami returned to the College World Series in 2015 after a six-year absence. The Hurricanes led the country with 547 runs scored, bashing their way to 50 wins and a first-place finish in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division. Despite losing All-Americans David Thompson (who led the country with 90 RBIs) and George Iskenderian (who led the ACC with 91 hits), as well as leadoff hitter Ricky Eusebio in the draft, the Hurricanes have the potential to again be a force at the plate.
2016 Lineup
Pos.Name, YearAVGOBPSLGHRRBISB
CZack Collins, Jr..302.445.58715707
1BChristopher Barr, R-Jr..306.397.40313214
2BJohnny Ruiz, Jr..315.356.3610190
3BRomy Gonzalez, Fr.HS—Miami
SSBrandon Lopez, Sr..303.417.3820231
LFJacob Heyward, Jr..327.440.4734247
CFCarl Chester, So..267.367.43344718
RFWillie Abreu, Jr..288.381.4196474
DHEdgar Michelangeli, R-Jr..231.338.292061
Pos.Name, YearWLERAIPSOSV
RHPThomas Woodrey, Sr.722.88103620
LHPJesse Lepore, So.001.9314100
RHPAndrew Cabezas, Fr.HS—Miami Gardens, Fla.
RPBryan Garcia, Jr.622.50403810
Catcher Zack Collins is one of the best power hitters in the country, and outfielders Willie Abreu and Jacob Heyward have the tools to put together big seasons at the plate if they can be a bit more consistent in their approaches. But this year’s team will likely have to rely more heavily on its pitching staff. "Our pitching is our strength right now,” coach Jim Morris said. "Offensively, we lost some big guys. "We lost some really key players. We lost guys up the middle and big players.” Miami returns much of its pitching staff. Lefthander Andrew Suarez, a staple of its rotation the last two years, has moved on to the professional ranks, but Friday starter Thomas Woodrey is back, as is the dependable bullpen combination of closer Bryan Garcia and submarining setup man Cooper Hammond. Garcia and Hammond appeared in 35 and 37 games, respectively, and give Morris a reliable one-two punch at the end of games. "I’ve always been known as a guy who developed the bullpen,” Morris said. "I’m very comfortable with that. A lot of times our best pitcher has been our closer.” Garcia came to Miami wanting to close, Morris said, and he has filled the role ably. His 25 career saves rank fifth all-time at Miami. Hammond employs a submarine delivery, making him especially tough on righthanded hitters, but Morris said the junior has developed his changeup, giving him a weapon against lefthanders. At the front of the rotation, Woodrey doesn’t overpower pitchers or wow scouts with his pure stuff, but he has a good understanding of his craft and pounds the zone. Also returning are lefthander Danny Garcia (7-1, 3.69) and righthander Enrique Sosa (7-5, 4.35), who combined to start 28 games last season. Added to that mix are a pair of young righthanders who don’t have much collegiate experience but have the stuff and pitchability to win spots in the rotation. Sophomore Jesse Lepore threw just 14 innings as a freshman but has taken a significant step forward and creates groundball outs thanks to his deceptive delivery and heavy sinker. Freshman Andrew Cabezas was one of the key pieces to the Hurricanes’ recruiting class and has an advanced feel for pitching. Miami’s pitching staff will be working with Collins behind the plate more often this year. Garrett Kennedy
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had split time with Collins the last two years but has graduated and moved on to pro ball. That puts more of a burden on Collins to improve defensively, something professional scouts would like to see from him as well. Morris said Collins has been working with volunteer assistant coach Norberto Lopez on his catching. "He’s worked very hard on his defense,” Morris said. "Definitely I can see an improvement with Zack behind the plate.” Coming off a Series trip and with so much talent back this season, expectations are once again high for Miami. That’s something Morris has become accustomed to in his 22 years of coaching the Hurricanes and expects through 2018, when he’s expected to retire and pass on the head coaching job to assistant Gino DiMare. "Miami has always had high expectations,” Morris said. "Our base of fans always expects us to go to Omaha and they’re not happy if you don’t.”

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