College baseball fans who opened the BaseballAmerica.com website Monday were greeted by a giant orange-and-green U.
For the first time since 2008, the University of Miami baseball team is ranked No. 1.
After traveling to South Bend, Indiana, this past weekend and having their first two games canceled because of snow and temperatures in the mid-20s, the Hurricanes extended their winning streak to nine games with a 10-2 rout of the Irish on Sunday in warmer weather that hit the high 30s after heavy rain.
UM, winner of 20 of its past 22 games, is ranked No. 1 in all six polls, including the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, in which the Canes received 26 of a possible 31 first-place votes.
“I’m excited about it for our team,’’ UM coach Jim Morris told the Miami Herald. “As I told our team when we got back from Notre Dame, I expected us to be No. 1. I just wanted to tell them, ‘You’ve worked very hard. You’ve played very well. Continue to do what you’re doing and stay focused.
“‘Enjoy it. But the hardest thing is to stay No. 1.’’’
The Canes – winners of national titles in 1982, 1985, 1999 and 2001 – are 25-4 and 11-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, with an .862 overall win-loss percentage that tops all 299 other Division I teams in the NCAA statistical rankings. In-state rival Florida (29-5) dropped from No. 1 to No. 3 after going 2-2 last week. The Gators beat Miami (ranked No. 2 last week) in two of three games earlier this season.
UM is led by top Major League Baseball prospect Zack Collins, who is hitting .424 with seven home runs, 36 RBI and a gawdy .718 slugging percentage.
Four other Hurricanes are hitting above .300, with Carl Chester at .391 and Brandon Lopez at .365.
The UM defense has made only 19 errors this season to its opponents’ 49, good for fifth in the nation of 300 teams in the NCAA Division I rankings.
“The best fielding team since I’ve been here,’’ said Morris, who arrived at UM in 1994.
And the Canes’ pitching staff has a combined 3.32 ERA.
“They’re really winning as a team,’’ Morris said. “They’re a close-knit group that is winning in different ways – not beating themselves. We’re making good plays on defense, when we need to get a hit somebody gets one and whoever needs to get people out in the bullpen does it.
“It’s a special effort from a bunch of guys.’’
Miami’s next game is at Mark Light Field against Nova Southeastern at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
The Canes also face UCF at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Mark Light. Both games will be broadcast by ESPN3.
Tickets are $8 for general admission and $6 for youth 17-younger and adults 65-older.