The University of Miami baseball team has cleared its collective throat.
Wednesday’s 5-1 win over Barry University means that the Hurricanes have navigated their way through a pillow-soft opening schedule with a 9-0 record.
Four of their wins were by one run, and the opponents included a Division II school (Barry), an NAIA team (St. Thomas) and a heavy dose of northern clubs thawing out from a rough winter. Barry is now 0-21 in its series with Miami.
In contrast, the Canes will now play their first road series of the season, this weekend’s trip to Gainesville to challenge their rivals, the Florida Gators, who have beaten Miami 11 times in a row. The Gators have also knocked the Canes out of the NCAA regional tournament twice during that span (2010, 2011).
UM right fielder Chantz Mack, who went 2 for 4 on Wednesday, said he is looking forward to this weekend.
“To me, it’s a fun environment,” he said. “I like when the fans are hostile. They talk a lot of trash to you, especially you in left field. They heckle you all game, but you can’t let it bother you.
“[Coach Jim Morris] said it’s time to turn our focus to Florida and try to get that series.”
This might not be a typical Gators team, however. They are off to a 3-6 start and will enter Friday with a five-game losing streak that has seen them get swept by Florida Gulf Coast and drop games to Georgia Southern and North Florida.
The Canes are expected to start three pitchers this weekend who have sub-2.00 ERAs: Chris Diaz followed by Javi Salas and Andrew Suarez.
If Miami were to win the Gators series, the Canes could crack Baseball America’s top 25 poll.
In Wednesday’s game, freshman Thomas Woodrey started and earned his first college win, allowing three hits, three walks and one run in five innings. Reliever Alexander Fernandez, the son of former major-league pitcher Alex Fernandez, pitched three hitless and scoreless innings in relief.
The only run for Barry came on a bases-loaded walk in the third inning by Luis Arrizurieta off of Woodrey.
Morris said starting pitchers Eric Whaley and Bryan Radziewski, who are coming back from injuries and made their season debuts in relief on Tuesday, will be available out of the bullpen once each this weekend.
• Rosenhaus sues McKinnie: Miami-based sports agent Drew Rosenhaus has sued Bryant McKinnie — a former Miami Hurricanes offensive tackle who now plays for the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
The suit was filed Tuesday in Miami-Dade Circuit Court by attorney Darren Heitner, a partner with Wolfe Law Miami.
Rosenhaus is asking for the money owed him by former client McKinnie, as stipulated by a settlement agreement resolving a prior dispute.
McKinnie, who was a star tackle for UM when the Hurricanes won their last national title in 2001, failed to make scheduled payments toward the $117,287 settlement amount, according to the lawsuit.
Rosenhaus wants the remaining amount that has yet to be paid by McKinnie — more than $85,000, plus interest.
Susan Miller Degnan