University of Miami

UM Hurricanes coach Jim Morris shuffles starting rotation, reveals battle for closer

Pitcher Jesse Lepore of the Miami Hurricanes throws a fastball during the Coral Gables Regional game against Long Beach State University on June 5, 2016, held at Mark Light Field. Photo by Logan Riely | lriely@miamiherald.com
Pitcher Jesse Lepore of the Miami Hurricanes throws a fastball during the Coral Gables Regional game against Long Beach State University on June 5, 2016, held at Mark Light Field. Photo by Logan Riely | lriely@miamiherald.com Logan Riely

Jesse Lepore served as the University of Miami’s midweek starting pitcher last season.

Michael Mediavilla was the Saturday-night guy.

Both are preseason All-Americans, but each will begin the 2017 opening series against Rutgers pitching in a new spot.

Coach Jim Morris said Sunday that Mediavilla (11-2, 3.40 ERA in 2016), a left-handed junior from Hialeah, will now be the No. 3 pitcher for Sunday afternoon games.

Lepore (9-0, 2.20 in 2016), a right-handed junior from Beverly Hills, Florida, has earned the top spot to face the Scarlet Knights at 7 p.m. Friday.

The Saturday starter will be newcomer Jeb Bargfeldt, a junior-college transfer from Cisco College in Texas. The left-handed Bargfeldt, 6-0 and 175 pounds, was 11-1 with a 4.45 ERA in 18 appearances (91 innings) last season. He struck out 120 and led Cisco to the Junior College World Series.

“Jesse Lepore pitched better than anybody this fall and spring and he deserves to pitch Friday night,’’ Morris told the Miami Herald. “That’s the bottom line. Jeb pitched really well, too, our second-best guy in the rotation. They’re getting what they deserve.

“Mediavilla has been struggling a little bit with location, but he has good stuff and he’ll be fine.’’

The midweek starter this season will be right-handed freshman Gregory Veliz, who played at North Broward Prep and was rated the No. 19 player in Florida by Perfect Game.

With all-time UM saves leader (43) Bryan Garcia now with the Detroit Tigers organization, Morris said he will start the season using two talented pitchers to compete for the closer’s spot: 2016 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American Frankie Bartow (6-0, 2.72) and fellow sophomore Andrew Cabezas (3-1, 5.07) – both righties.

“Cabezas pitches well enough to be a starter or reliever,’’ Morris said. “But we’re starting him in the pen with Bartow.’’

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