CORA INDUCTED TO THE HALL OF FAME
On Monday, former Hurricane Alex Cora (1993-96) was inducted to the UM Sports Hall of Fame. Cora, a member of the Boston Red Sox, was able to make the trip down to Miami to the banquet.
"It is an honor for me to be a Cane," said Cora, in his induction speech. "As everybody knows my jobs isn't to hit home runs or drive in 100 runs, but I do the little things on the baseball field and I play with passion."
Over the years Cora has developed a strong relationship with his former teammate J.D. Arteaga, UM's current pitching coach.
"We have been through a lot. I consider him my best friend, my brother, and part of my family," Cora said.
"Without a doubt he was the best defensive player that has played here and he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame," Arteaga said. "He is a great friend of mine and I was very happy to see him up there."
Cora, a career .294 hitter in college with no home runs, was thankful for the committee to have the "guts" to honor a defensive player.
As a native of Puerto Rico he represented his country in the World Baseball Classic and it was "very special" to him.
CANES SWEEP WRIGHT STATE
Last weekend the Hurricanes recorded their first sweep since March 17-19 when they swept Wright State at home. UM outscored WSU 33-4 in the three games including a 15-1 win in the finale.
A number of players have talked about the importance and timing of the sweep as the team finishes up the regular season, which concludes on May 20.
1B Yonder Alonso led the team with six RBI's in the series while hitting two home runs. His OPS (on base + slugging percent) was also the highest with a 1.722.
RF Tommy Giles also hit two home runs to give him seven on the season.
SS Roger Tomas was 8-for-13 (.615) in the three games as he has solidified the starting shortstop position down the stretch.
Starting pitchers Scott Maine, Carlos Gutierrez, and Manny Miguelez combined to allow just two runs in 16 2/3 innings.
UM HOSTS WAKE FOREST
Miami (32-16, 14-10) will host Wake Forest in a three-game series beginning on Friday at 8:00 p.m.
Wake Forest (31-15, 15-8) will send a freshman to the mound in the opener, RHP Brad Kledzik.
"They are a good team," Arteaga said. "I know their pitching and defense are very good. They have some guys in the middle of their lineup that can really hurt you."
The Hurricanes will go with a new rotation this weekend with LHP Scott Maine, LHP Manny Miguelez, and RHP Ricky Orta.
RHP Carlos Gutierrez, who leads the team with 15 starts, will be given the weekend off.
"We want to give Carlos a weekend off as we start to prepare for the postseason," Arteaga said. "He is a little tired now, but hopefully we can juice him back up for the postseason."
The earliest Gutierrez would return to the mound would be against Georgia Tech on May 18.
ORTA GETS THE NOD
With RHP Ricky Orta re-joining the rotation, he will make his fifth start of the season.
Orta (2-1, 5.51 ERA) is expected to be a vital asset to the team down the stretch as pitching is a premium in postseason play.
On Sunday against Wright State, Orta pitched four innings and allowed one unearned run.
"We knew we were going to do this with Carlos this weekend so I wanted to make sure Ricky got at least four innings in," Arteaga said. "It worked out great on Sunday where Manny goes five finnings and Ricky was able to get his work in as we tried to stretch him out to prepare him for this weekend."
Orta has struck out 43 in 47 1/3 innings this season.
FOUR SENIORS TO BE HONORED
Saturday's game will be Senior Night as LHP Andrew Lane, RHP Marcelo Albir, RHP Jon McLean, and RF Tommy Giles will be honored.
Giles, who has played just three seasons of college baseball, is not expected to receive an extra year of eligibility from the NCAA. Even if he does it is unlikely he will return based on his draft status.
WEEKS A KEY
Leadoff hitter 2B Jemile Weeks is a key for the Hurricanes as they enter the stretch run. Although just a freshman Weeks has showed good composure and maturity throughout the season.
Weeks carries a .408 on base percent and doesn't strike out very often--once every 10.3 plate appearances.
Weeks is hitting .313 with three home runs, 24 runs batted in, seven triples, and nine stolen bases.
Christopher Stock can be reached at email@example.com