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Canes projected to go back to UF for baseball regional

There was probably no one as disappointed as Miami Hurricanes’ third baseman Brad Fieger when Tuesday night’s game against Florida Gulf Coast was cancelled due to lightning and rain.

Fieger hit a two-run homer to left field in the first inning. It would have been his fourth homer of the season and his second in consecutive at-bats, counting the grand slam he hit in Sunday’s win over Wake Forest.

But because the game was cancelled – Miami led 3-2 in the fourth when it was called – none of the statistics count.

The Canes (32-18), though, could sure use Fieger’s suddenly hot bat. They will play the rest of their season on the road, starting with a trip to Atlanta Thursday through Saturday for an ACC series against Georgia Tech.

After that, the Canes will play in the ACC Tournament, which is set for May 23-27 at Greensboro, N.C.

Judging by projections, the Canes would then play an NCAA regional on the road. ESPN, for example, projects the Canes as a No. 2 seed at Gainesville, behind Florida and together with Washington and Florida Atlantic.

In other Canes news, since Tuesday was the last scheduled home game for Miami, the team announced its year-end awards, and there were at least a couple of surprises.

It’s not often an MVP award goes to a middle reliever, but that’s what happened with A.J. Salcines, who had a team-best 1.39 ERA along with four saves.

The MVP award almost surely would have gone to catcher Peter O’Brien had he not broken a bone in his left wrist, missing 13 games. O’Brien, who hopes to return for the Georgia Tech series, still hit .354 and won awards for fan favorite and top home run hitter (10).

Eric Erickson was named top pitcher and was also given an award for exemplifying what it means to be a winner.

Garrett Kennedy, who stepped in for the injured O’Brien at catcher, was named the top freshman. He hit just .150 with four RBI in 23 starts but was praised for his defense.

Other freshmen who saw significant time this season were infielders Esteban Tresgallo (.246 in 39 starts) and Jarred Mederos (.231 in 36 starts).

-- These notes were sent in by Miami Herald writer Walter Villa, who covers the baseball team frequently.

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