The Hurricanes just jumped five spots from No. 15 to No. 10 in the Baseball America rankings -- and seven spots from No. 11 to No. 4 in Collegiate Baseball.
Unless something very, very strange happens in May, the Canes should host another NCAA regional at Mark Light Field (inside Alex Rodriguez Park).
This team is really fun to watch -- top to bottom.
The bad defense has been replaced by impressive defense.
Freshman catcher Zack Collins, who started the season abysmally, now leads the active UM players with a .306 average, .563 slugging percentage, seven home runs and 39 RBI. He has a .414 on-base percentage.
Collins just crushes the ball.
Fellow freshman outfielder Willie Abreu, another phenom, is hitting .302 with a .408 on-base percentage.
And as UM baseball SID Camron Ghorbi points out, senior Tyler Palmer (.289), Collins and Abreu (Nos. 2 through 4 in the lineup) finished the weekend sweep at Clemson 17 for 36 (.472) at bat.
The starting pitching is stellar (Bryan Radziewski just became the 11th pitcher in program history to top the 300-strikeout mark and ace Chris Diaz is 7-0 with a 2.21 ERA; Andy Suarez is 4-2 with a 2.53 ERA) and freshman closer Bryan Garcia (5-2, 1.98 ERA and 13 saves) just was named to the Stopper of the Year Watch List. Freshman reliever Cooper Hammond is 5-0 with a 2.01 ERA.
Sophomore reliever Thomas Woodrey is 3-0 with a 2.78 ERA.
The Hurricanes are 19-1 in their past 20 games and extended the nation's longest road winning streak to 12 consecutive games.
The Canes are 32-13 overall and 19-5 -- that's first place -- in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
And all of this is without David Thompson, who is out recovering from surgery and still leads the team with a .328 batting average; and third baseman Johnny Ruiz, who did an excellent job filling in for Thompson but tore the labrum of his right shoulder and is out indefinitely.
It's feeling more and more like the old days, when coach Jim Morris' Canes regularly got to the College World Series. His last trip there was 2008, but Omaha seems at the very least attainable this season.
The next UM series is at Alex Rodriguez park from Friday (May 2) through Sunday (May 4) against Alabama State. See you there.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN