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Canes must beat FSU AND BC to play Sunday

DURHAM, N.C. - Even if UM beats top-seeded Florida State later this afternoon, the Canes will still have work to do in the ACC Tournament if they hope to reach Sunday's championship game. That's because Boston College just added another road block to UM's path when it beat Georgia Tech 7-3 this afternoon.

FSU second baseman Jason Stidham hit a two-run home run off UM starter Chris Hernandez earlier this year. By virtue of that win, Miami, seeded fifth, must now beat the Eagles (32-24) Friday at noon or they'll be eliminated from title contention. If BC (1-1) were to beat Miami (1-0) and FSU (1-0) were to beat Georgia Tech Saturday, it would create a three-way tie between the teams, one that would favor the Noles because they are the top-seeded team in Division A. Even if FSU were to lose to the Yellow Jackets, it still wouldn't help UM. BC would own the first tiebreaker -- head-to-head -- and advance to Sunday's title game in front of Miami.

I know it all could become moot if UM loses to FSU in a couple hours anyway. But at least now you know that even if UM wins today, they still have to win Friday to play on Sunday.

As for their matchup with the Noles...

> Just because the Seminoles are going with No. 2 starter Brian Busch this afternoon, don't mistake it for being a much easier situation for UM than had Sean Gilmartin been scheduled to pitch. Busch pitched five hitless innings against UM in his previous start in Coral Gables before Jason Hagerty belted a two-run home run in the sixth inning to break it up. The big blast pushed Busch out of the game with a 4-3 lead. UM eventually came back and won the game 6-4.

But it wasn't easy. UM starter Chris Hernandez labored early and fell behind 4-1. Jason Stidham hit a two-run homer off Hernandez in the first and Stuart Tapley added a two-run double before Hernandez settled down. Hernandez would strike out 11 while scattering six hits in 6 2/3 innings to improve to 3-2. Kyle Bellamy pitched the final 2 1/3 scoreless, hit-less innings, while striking out five to earn the save.

> UM beat FSU the next day 14-8 to take 2-of-3 in the series. But FSU has been red hot since, going 23-4. They lost twice at Georgia Tech and at home to Florida and North Carolina. But that's it.

> FSU (41-14): 1. CF Tyler Holt (.403), 2. SS Stephen Cardullo (.374), 3. LF Mike McGee (.365), 4. 2B Jason Stidham (.344), 5. 3B Stuart Tapley (.303), 6. DH Tommy Oravetz (.262), 7. RF Ohmed Danesh (.269), 8. 1B Jack Posey (.217), 9. C Rafael Lopez (.291). Pitching: LHP Brian Busch (5-2, 4.38 ERA, 57 Ks, 31 BBs).
> UM (36-18): 1. 2B Scott Lawson (.345), 2. SS Ryan Jackson (.263), 3. 1B Jason Hagerty (.320), 4. C Yasmani Grandal (.301), 5. LF Chris Hermann (.342), 6. 3B Harold Martinez (.286), 7. RF Dave DiNatale (.314), 8. DH Ted Blackman (.259), 9. CF Nathan Melendres (.278). Pitching: LHP Chris Hernandez (7-3, 4.31 ERA, 82 Ks, 26 BBs).

- Courtesy of UM sports information director Rob Dunning...
> Chris Hernandez is 3-1 with a 1.97 ERA in his last five starts.
> UM is averaging 7.9 runs per game over their last 15 games. Five Hurricanes are hitting .350 or better in the last 10 ACC games. Chris Hermann is hitting .550 with five HRs, 16 runs and 18 RBI. Yasmani Grandal (.405), Scott Lawson (.357), Dave DiNatale (.350) and Jason Hagerty (.350) all have at least 14 hits over that same span. The rest of the starters are hitting over .300.
> UM's bullpen has allowed just 14 earned runs in their last 68 1/3 innings (1.96 ERA). Kyle Bellamy, Michael Rudman, Rene Guerra and Kevin Youst have allowed just one earned run between them in their last 36 innings combined.