Posted: 3:52 pm Thursday, February 27th, 2014
Notebook: Canes-Noles baseball in Tallahassee this weekend; Zack Collins coming along; Stephen Morris gets money
By Matt Porter
Because Miami and Florida State don’t play each other as part of the ACC’s regular cross-division rotation, this weekend’s series won’t count in the ACC standings.
Who cares? It’s Canes-Noles.
“I never really liked FSU,” said Miami freshman right fielder Willie Abreu, from Hialeah. “You have respect for them and what they’ve done, but we’re not going there to make friends.”
This chapter in one of the country’s longest-running feuds is intriguing, as both teams have aspirations of Omaha this year. The second-ranked Seminoles (6-0) will face the 14th-ranked Hurricanes (4-3), in front of a lively Tallahassee crowd beginning 4 p.m. Friday (ESPN3, 90.5 WVUM-FM).
“It’s always a fun place, an interesting place to play. It’s always a sellout. It’s loud,” UM coach Jim Morris said. “And we get 50 tickets.”
UM’s rotation of lefties – Chris Diaz (2-0, 3.00), Bryan Radziewski (0-1, 1.69) and Andrew Suarez (1-1, 3.75) – will face, in order, FSU righty Luke Weaver (2-0, 2.45), lefty Brandon Leibrandt (1-0, 2.45) and righty Mike Compton (1-0, 0.00).
The Canes, who have had a strong offensive start to the year (ACC-best seven homers in non-conference play, after hitting 14 in 62 games last year), will no doubt get a look at fireballing closer/Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, who has pitched four scoreless innings.
“That football player playing baseball is definitely a factor,” Morris said. “This year’s he’s got a lot of confidence as a baseball player, whereas last year he hadn’t played. They’re better than last year, no question. They’re talented.”
Palm Beach Central’s Alex Hernandez will shift back to second base this weekend, Morris said, helping reunite last year’s solid double-play combo. Sophomore Brandon Lopez, who returned from an offseason injury in Wednesday’s exhibition loss to the Miami Marlins, will play short.
Collins coming along: Crazy stat of the week: counting his 1-for-3 performance in Jupiter, freshman first baseman Zack Collins is 2-for-26 this spring — and both of his hits are homers. Wednesday, Collins went opposite field off Marlins reliever Grant Drayton in the ninth inning. It won’t count, officially. But it was a positive step for Collins, and one Morris likely wasn’t surprised to see him take.
“He’s just got to be selective and use the whole field,” Morris said Tuesday. “The ball jumps off his bat. It’s not a confidence thing. He knows he can hit. I know he can hit, too. It’s just a question of when.”
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QB gets richer: In non-baseball news … the Post‘s Andrew Abramson reports former Canes quarterback Stephen Morris received a $10,000 check from Adidas for being the fastest quarterback wearing a pair of the company’s shoes at the NFL combine. Click here to get the details.