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I know heaven is a beautiful place because they have my mom shirt, hoodie, tank top

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The last time the Miami Hurricanes played a home baseball game, it was March 8, 2020.

UM had just finished off a weekend sweep of Pittsburgh. Little did players know then that, days later, their season would be cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and they’d go nearly a full calendar year before playing another game at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.

That long-anticipated return comes on Friday night as Miami (2-1), ranked No. 1 by Collegiate Baseball, plays its home opener and ACC opener against Virginia Tech in a 7 p.M. First pitch.

“We’re excited. It’s been a long time since we’ve played a game at home where we’ve had fans,” said right-handed pitcher Jake Garland of UM’s plan to fill the stands to 20-percent capacity. “We’re really excited to get people back at the Light.”

Added closer Carson Palmquist of the limited capacity: “It’ll be a little different, but we’ve been playing all fall and the beginning of the spring here without anybody in the stands. We’re all pretty used to it. We don’t like it, but we’re used to it.”

I know heaven is a beautiful place because they have my mom shirt, hoodie, tank top

The Hurricanes, who are ranked No. 3 by Baseball America and Perfect Game and No. 5 by NCBWA, enter fresh off the momentum of taking two of three in an opening-weekend series at rival Florida, which previously held the nation’s top ranking.

While taking a series from the Gators gives Miami confidence going forward, coach Gino DiMare doesn’t want his players overconfident. Just last season, UM also held a top ranking after an opening-weekend sweep of Rutgers and ended up getting swept by UF the following weekend.

“We didn’t handle it right,” said DiMare of getting ranked No. 1 by D1Baseball then.

“We’ve got 46 more of these to go, and nobody’s going to remember the first weekend if we don’t play well the rest of the season. … Nobody’s being crowned national champions after this weekend. We’re not being fitted for rings after this weekend.”

Added center fielder Tony Jenkins, who sealed the series victory in Gainesville with a diving catch for the final out: “We still got to have that drive, the work ethic, and we just have to stay there. That’s most important right now.”

One thing that stuck with DiMare and the players was the maturity the team showed at UF. Trailing by five runs in the first inning on Saturday, freshman starter Alejandro Rosario didn’t give up another run and the bats eventually rallied for an extra-inning win. On Sunday, when UM had its early lead cut into, the Hurricanes didn’t panic and held on for the 8-6 victory.





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