The University of Miami baseball program is on the rise, and almost out of room to ascend in the polls.
The Hurricanes (23-4, 10-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) rose to No. 2 in the nation in the Baseball America Top-25 rankings, stayed at No. 2 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll and remained in the top five of the other college baseball polls, including No. 3 in D1Baseball’s.
Miami’s No. 2 spot in Baseball America marked its highest ranking from the publication since it was No. 1 in the June 10, 2008 poll.
One spot ahead of the Canes in Baseball America and the Coaches’ Poll is nemesis Florida (27-3, 7-2 Southeastern Conference), which handed Miami two of its four losses in February and eliminated it in the College World Series.
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The Canes, with a four-game lead in the ACC’s Coastal Division, also rose to No. 2 in RPI in BoydsWorld.com, which replicates the formula used by the NCAA.
“We’ve been playing really good baseball the last few weeks,’’ UM coach Jim Morris told the Miami Herald on Monday. “We’re just halfway through the season so we have to continue what we’re doing. Ultimately you want to finish in the top eight, which puts you in a position to host an NCAA regional and super regional and means you won’t play the other teams in the top eight until you get to Omaha.’’
“It’s good that they don’t ever give up,’’ Morris said. “They feel like whoever it is that needs to come through will do just that. We’ve played very well defensively, our young bullpen has done well and we’ve done a good job of situational hitting, particularly moving guys around the bases with two outs.’’
Miami has five players hitting above .300: Zack Collins (.416 with 31 RBI and .688 slugging percentage), Carl Chester (.392), Brandon Lopez (.346), Johnny Ruiz (.337) and Edgar Michelangeli (.301).
The Canes have committed only 19 errors this season to their opponents’ 47.
Next up: a four-game road swing that begins Tuesday at Florida Gulf Coast and continues with a weekend series at Notre Dame (15-11, 6-6) in South Bend, Indiana, where snow and a low of 24 degrees is forecast for Friday’s opener.