As the Miami Hurricanes prepare to open the Atlantic Coast Conference baseball tournament Wednesday, two University of Miami players, both from South Florida, received major honors by the league Monday.
Catcher Zack Collins was named ACC Freshman of the Year.
Left-handed junior Chris Diaz was named ACC Co-Pitcher of the Year along with Nathan Kirby of Virginia.
Collins, from Pembroke Pines and a graduate of Plantation American Heritage, is batting .285 and tied for second in the ACC with eight home runs, behind the 10 by Mike Papi of Virginia. His .520 slugging percentage is second in the ACC, behind Florida State Seminole D.J. Stewart’s .588.
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Collins leads the sixth-ranked Canes (40-15, 24-6) and is fourth in the league with 46 RBI, tied with FSU’s John Nogowski, and one RBI behind Stewart, Papi and Andrew Knizner of North Carolina State.
Chris Diaz, from Florida City and Miami Gulliver Prep, is tied with Mike Shawaryn of Maryland with the most ACC wins: 9.
Diaz is 9-0 with a 2.32 ERA in 89.1 innings pitched. He has 78 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting .236 against him and he has only given up one home run this season.
Even more impressive: The Hurricanes have won every game in which Diaz has started, dating back to the 2013 NCAA regional in Louisville. The last time UM lost a game pitched by Diaz was on May 24, 2013 in the ACC tournament.
Kirby, with whom Diaz shares the Pitcher of the Year honor, is 8-1 with a 1.58 ERA.
Brian O’Connor of Virginia (43-11, 22-8) won ACC Coach of the Year.
FSU’s Stewart, who is hitting .362, won ACC Player of the Year.
The All-ACC teams were also announced Monday.
UM’s Diaz was the only Hurricane to make the first team, with outfielder Dale Carey (.295), starting pitcher Bryan Radziewski (7-2, 3.14) and closer Bryan Garcia (5-3, 1.61, 15 saves) earning second-team honors.
Collins, outfielder Willie Abreu (.299) and pitcher Andrew Suarez (5-3, 3.15) made third-team All-ACC.
ACC coaches vote for the honorees, but are not allowed to vote for their own players.
The ACC tournament begins Tuesday in Greensboro, N.C. But No. 1 seed Miami will play at 3 p.m. Wednesday against the winner of Tuesday’s game between Georgia Tech (32-24, 14-16) and Wake Forest (30-25, 15-15).
The tournament is a round-robin format, with the winner of Pool A (No. 1 seed Canes, No. 4 Duke, No. 5 Clemson and winner of Georgia Tech-Wake) facing the winner of Pool B (No. 2 FSU, No. 3 Virginia, No. 6 Maryland and the winner of Tuesday’s North Carolina-N.C. State game) in the ACC championship at 1 p.m. Sunday.