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Hurricane baseball coach Jim Morris said today that he fully expects star QB/infielder David Thompson, a Miami commitment for both sports, to forgo pro ball and attend UM.
"He's going to school," Morris said. "He may not be drafted because of signability, in my opinion. But he may be drafted, I don't know. He needs to come to school."
Morris added that "We think he can start for us as a freshman. We had him committed first and coach (Randy) Shannon wasn't recruiting him. When coach (Al) Golden came in he wanted him. We said `We'll sign him together then.' So in the fall he plays football and in the spring he plays baseball, and that's the way it's going to work.
"His No. 1 sport is baseball if you ask him."
Thompson plays QB in football and projects as either a third baseman, first baseman or left fielder at UM in baseball.
"He's a good athlete, works hard," Morris said. "I've never heard one thing bad about David Thompson. He's a hard worker and a great kid."
Morris also said today that he is hopeful with the new Major League agreement that more players will choose college over the pros.
"We're going to see with the new guidelines how much money they can give - in the past they could give them anything they wanted to (to sign)," Morris said. "Now they're going to pay a luxury tax and lose draft picks. Even the pro people don't know how this will work out, but everybody thinks more guys are going to go to college because of the new system. We'll see."
Morris adds that "I've heard general managers ask their scout `Who does Miami have signed?' because they know we have the best players (signed). I think sometimes our guys go higher because they're Miami guys."
* The No. 21 Canes (30-17 overall, 12-12 ACC) needs a strong finish in order to host a regional - the team has regular season series remaining this weekend at home against Wake Forest and then at Georgia Tech.
Coming off a sweep of Bethune-Cookman, UM hopes to keep the momentum going against a Demon Deacon team that enters with a 27-20 record (9-15 ACC).
"We narrowly got them (last weekend with a pair of one-run wins), but a win's a win and I'm excited to go out and get some more this weekend," said Steven Ewing, who will be the Saturday starter this weekend with Eric Whaley going Sunday.
Wake Forest's offense has a big power threat in Mac Williamson, who has 14 of the team's 36 home runs, and Pat Blair is also an offensive leader with a .303 batting average along with a team-high 54 runs and 18 stolen bases.
The team's top two starters are Brian Holmes and Tim Cooney - Holmes has a 6-2 record and 3.08 ERA; Cooney is 5-5 with a 3.43 ERA. Both average close to nine strikeouts per game.
"Any team in the ACC can play - we know we need to come out and give it our best shot this weekend against Wake Forest," Friday night starter Eric Erickson said. "This is a huge weekend for us. We should sweep these guys and that would put us in a good position going into Georgia Tech.
"We've been up and down, on a roller coaster ride all season. We can't get comfortable and think we're back on track. We just have to attack; attack the other team."
UM is again expected to be without catcher Peter O'Brien, who is the only Cane batter hitting above .300. He's coming off a wrist injury and leads UM with 10 home runs and 38 RBI.
O'Brien said today that doctors think a hairline fracture in his wrist will need another week to heal fully. He has begun swinging a waffle ball, and Morris said he is doubtful to play this weekend.
"I'm feeling a little better every day," O'Brien said. "I'm a little sore today from (swinging the waffle ball bat) yesterday. It's just a little tight and stiff because I've been immobile for so long."
O'Brien added that "I want to be healthy when the team needs me most, the post-season. It's tough to not be out there even for practices - right now I'm day-to-day.
"I know we've been struggling to not be a part of that is tough."
Players and Morris say winning the next two series is likely a must for UM to host a regional, with Morris saying the team would also have to "win a couple in the ACC Tournament."
"That's what we're playing for," Ewing said. "I think we need to win the series if not sweep them to host a regional. (Regionals), that's what coach Morris considers the real post-season. That's always in the back of our mind but we're focusing on one game at a time."
* Morris was asked about not reaching the College World Series for three consecutive years, and he pointed to juniors leaving and commitments opting to turn pro as major factors that hurt the Canes.
"Last year our recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the country before the draft," Morris said. "We've been killed by the draft the last two years. When all your juniors sign and you don't get a break in the draft, it makes it pretty tough. We have a great recruiting class signed right now. We all know you have to have players, and we've lost a lot of good players.
"Our guys are working their butt off. We're working as hard as we ever have as a coaching staff right now, and our players are working equally hard. We're busting it trying to get better players, better everything. We understand where we want to be, and that's Omaha."
Morris added that "I'm so spoiled just like everyone down here - everyone else in the country thinks we're great being ranked 21. Down here we're all spoiled, including me. It's very frustrating being 21 and not going to the World Series in three years because we went my first six years, went 11 of my first 15. It was like automatic - we made hotel reservations before the season started for Omaha. A lot of things have changed since then. It's a lot tougher to get there with being in the ACC. We travel a lot more. It's a different deal now. There's a lot more teams that are good not only in our league. It's gotten tougher and tougher to go to the World Series and win. With that said, I still expect to be there every year.
"It's not acceptable for my standard that I'm used to now. I feel probably worse than anybody. it's very frustrating, to be honest with you."
* Morris said that righty Eric Nedelijkovic (20.2 IP, 1.31 ERA, 3 saves) and lefty AJ Salcines (31 IP, 1.45 ERA, 3-0 record, 3 saves) will be the closers based on situations moving forward with former closer E.J. Encinosa (22.1 IP, 3.22 ERA, 8 saves) serving in middle relief.
Asked about Nedelijkovic, Morris said, "He was a closer in junior college. I'm a guy - throw strikes, go after people, field your position, hold the runners well and do the little things and you'll win most of the time. That's what he does. He has a good, quick release. He holds the runners well, throws strikes and goes right after people. And mentally he has the mentality of a closer."