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2023 College Top 25 Preview: No. 8 Miami

2023 College Top 25 Preview: No. 8 Miami

Last season: 40-20 (20-10 ACC); lost in regionals
Final ranking: No. 14
Coach (record at school): Gino DiMare (123-65, four seasons)

The good news: The Hurricanes have loads of experience on each side of the baseball, with over 20 returners in total, including nearly their entire starting lineup and a host of experienced arms. Perhaps the biggest news is the return of All-American reliever Andrew Walters. The redshirt junior was expected to be drafted in the first five rounds but he instead opted to return to school after being drafted in the 18th round by the Orioles and is set to once again anchor the bullpen. Also returning is third baseman Yohandy Morales, a projected first-round pick who hit .329 with 17 doubles and 18 home runs in 2022. He enjoyed a strong fall and made substantial strides defensively. FIrst baseman C.J. Kayfus will look to build off of a sophomore campaign that saw him hit .366. Kayfus has exceptional hand-eye coordination and a professional approach, as well as sneaky speed (16 stolen bases). Dominic Pitelli also returns, and is one of the best defensive shortstops in the country. The Hurricanes have excellent starting pitching depth with Gage Ziehl, Karson Ligon and Alejandro Rosario returning. Freshman Blake Cyr played well this fall and headlines a strong freshman class.

The bad news: Catcher Maxwell Romero Jr. must be replaced behind the plate after being drafted. Carson Palmquist, Alex McFarlane and Jake Garland were also selected in the draft which means some of the Hurricanes’ young arms will need to step up and play major roles. The bat of Jacob Burke will be sorely missed after he hit .347 with 13 home runs, and Miami will look to either Florida Gulf Coast transfer Ian Farrow or sophomore Lorenzo Carrier to take over his outfield spot.

Player to know: Ian Farrow, OF.

Farrow is coming off of an outstanding sophomore season at Florida Gulf Coast that saw him hit .322 with 21 home runs and 75 RBIs as the Eagles’ left fielder. With quick hands and a physical build, the junior outfielder is able to frequently tap into his plus power and change the course of the game in one swing.

Path to Omaha: Miami is one of the preseason favorites to win the ACC as well as a strong candidate for a top-eight seed in the NCAA Tournament. With one of the best lineups in the conference, as well as an exciting core of arms, the Hurricanes are in as good of a spot as they have been in some time as they look to return to Omaha for the first time…

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