May 24, 2014

Analyst is certain UM will host baseball regional

Despite dropping the first two games of this week’s Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, the University of Miami baseball team is a “100 percent lock” to host a regional next weekend.

Despite dropping the first two games of this week’s Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, the University of Miami baseball team is a “100 percent lock” to host a regional next weekend.

That’s according to Baseball America’s Aaron Fitt, an expert in the field. Fitt said the Canes are still in line to be one of 16 national seeds and thus potentially host a super regional.

But to do that, Fitt said, the Canes must beat Duke on Saturday, and it wouldn’t hurt if Texas Christian lost in the Big 12 tournament.

The Canes, who won the ACC regular-season title, lost to Georgia Tech and Clemson in the first two games of the tournament, dropping their RPI to 15th in the nation.

Tough end for FIU

FIU, which started its baseball season 16-1 and was 34-12 on May 4 after a three-game sweep at East Carolina, isn’t expecting an NCAA tournament bid when the 64-team field is announced Monday.

The Panthers, despite some great pitching, won just two of their final 10 games to finish 36-20. They went 0-2 in the Conference USA tournament.

UM women’s tennis

The Canes’ streak of reaching the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament in women’s tennis for five consecutive years ended last week with a 4-0 loss to third-ranked UCLA.

Still, no Canes program has had more success lately than women’s tennis, which has made the Sweet 16 round for nine consecutive years.

For next season, the Canes will have to replace graduating seniors Monique Albuquerque (who was 18-0 until losing to UCLA), Melissa Bolivar and Brittany Dubins.

Miami will return its top three players: juniors Stephanie Wagner and Clementina Riobueno, and senior Lina Lileikite.

FIU basketball

FIU recently signed two players: power forward Larry Dennis, a 6-8, 205-pound high school senior from Kansas, and 5-10 guard Tashawn Desir, a junior college player from New York.

Dennis, ranked a two-star recruit by Rivals, also had offers from Western Kentucky and Denver. He averaged 11 points and six rebounds.

His height and weight suggest he needs to get stronger for college, and his prep stats suggest he is a work in progress.

Desir, who averaged 13 points and 4.5 assists as a third-team junior college All-American, is different. As a junior college player with only two years of eligibility remaining, he will look to contribute right away.

This and that

•  Avi Kigel, who led Barry to an NCAA Division II national title last week, was named the National Women’s Tennis Coach of the Year. He also won the award in 2011.
• Barry’s men’s tennis team (25-3) lost to Hawaii Pacific 5-1 in the NCAA Division II semifinals.

It was the fifth time in six years that Barry advanced to the final four, including last year’s national title.

• The Barry women’s golf team finished second in the women’s golf national championships at Conover, North Carolina. That tied the 2002 team as having the best finish in program history. In addition, Barry sophomore Nicky Ferre was named second-team All-American. Junior Nancy Vergara was honorable mention.
• Nova Southeastern junior Daniela Ortiez was named an NCAA Division II second-team All-American in golf.
• The St. Thomas softball team (27-27) made it to NAIA nationals in Irvine, California, but lost twice to defending national champion Concordia (Oregon). While in California, the St. Thomas team went to a Los Angeles Dodgers game as a guest of their rivals that night, the Marlins.

The softball players were interviewed as part of Fox Sports Florida’s live broadcast of the Marlins game.

• Former UM basketball standout Krystal Saunders said she plans on becoming a personal trainer and, eventually, a coach. She graduated from UM last week with a degree in sports administration.

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