Hurricanes Led by Yonder Alonso

Yonder Alonso

The Miami Hurricanes begin NCAA Tournament action on Friday as they attempt to win their 14th straight regional led by sophomore 1B Yonder Alonso.

Earlier this season Yonder Alonso was not happy with the team's excitement in the dugout.

Now, Alonso is happy with his team.

"I definitely feel that we are a team right now," he said. "At the beginning of the year we didn't know how to play with each other, we were young, but definitely we are clicking now and this is the time you want to be clicking."

Miami (36-22) travels to Columbia, Mo. later today as they prepare to take on Louisville (40-20) in the opener on Friday at 2 p.m.

Missouri (40-16) hosts Kent State (33-24) later Friday evening.

Alonso is confident Miami can win their 14th straight regional and believes their 9-1 record to end the regular season has given the 'Canes momentum.

"Our confidence is high," Alonso said. "We are headed to Missouri, yeah it is going to be tough, but we can handle it. We can handle anything right now because we are hot."

Alonso leads the team with a .377 batting average, 18 home runs, and 74 RBI. His on-base percent is .520 and his slugging percent is .719, both are clearly the tops on the team.

"I have been pretty good, but there is always room for improvement," he said. "I definitely want to walk more, which I have, and keep my average even higher than what it is."

Alonso has walked 61 times this year, which leads the team. The next highest is Roger Tomas, who has walked 34 times. Being the team's top hitter, he knows that there is a chance teams will pitch around him.

"I will take my walks, that is fine," Alonso said. "I have Roger Tomas in front of me and he's been great all year. Behind me I have Dennis Raben and he is hot right now. He will hit anything and when he does, watch out, because it is going to go over the fence. So it doesn't really matter if they pitch to me, I will be ready."

Last year, Alonso hit just .200 in the regional as a true freshman and knows what to expect this year.

"It was crazy last year," Alonso said. "We really didn't know what was going on. Now we know what to expect and I feel better about it.

"I will definitely talk to the freshmen about it because I know how they are feeling."

Christopher Stock can be reached at stock@canestime.com

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