Miami’s Garrett Kennedy Looks To Keep Bat Hot Against Tar Heels

Photo Miami Athletics

Photo Miami Athletics

From top to bottom, it is hard to argue against the Miami Hurricanes having one of the best lineups in the entire nation.

From David Thompson, who has been named ACC hitter of the week for two weeks in a row, to junior college transfer George Iskenderian the Hurricanes have no shortage of big hitters in their lineup.

Even Zack Collins, last year’s national freshman of the year, is a major threat offensively, all though he hasn’t quite gotten on a roll yet this year as a sophomore.

But entering the Hurricanes’ weekend set against the North Carolina Tar Heels, another bat at the bottom of the lineup is looking to stay hot and continue to help in Miami’s quest for a third straight ACC series win.

One of four seniors on the roster, Garrett Kennedy has brought a combination of skill and experience that many can’t offer.

The Davie, Florida native is coming off a weekend worth remembering that many might not due to Thompson’s continued success. Kennedy batted .462 against Wake Forest, which included two home runs – doubling his season total in the process.

His success has gone further than just against Wake Forest, as Kennedy has been the team’s best hitter since the calendar turned into conference play. Currently in ACC play, Kennedy leads the team in both average and on-base percentage and only trails Thompson in slugging.

Maybe the most impressive number has been his walks-to-strikeouts ratio – 2.29. For every time that Kennedy has struck out (7), he has walked 2.29 times, reaching on a free pass a total of 16 times this season.

Kennedy has spent the majority of the season batting in the bottom-third of the lineup but that hasn’t stopped him from being one of the most important – and consistent – hitters for the Hurricanes. He sported an 11 game hitting streak into Miami’s unfortunate setback against Florida Gulf Coast on Wednesday.

He will need his bat to stay hot as the team heads to Chapel Hill, as the Tar Heels has been a tough opponent for Kennedy throughout his career. In 21 career at bats against North Carolina, Kennedy has only collected four hits for a batting average of .190. He has scored only one run and has struck out five times to only three walks.

Chris Barr Thriving Since Being Plugged Back Into Lineup

Despite going 5-for-14 against Rutgers on Opening Weekend, once Brandon Lopez returned from a suspension, the Hurricanes adjusted the lineup that made sophomore Chris Barr the odd man out.

But since moving Iskenderian back to shortstop after Lopez was suspended for the second time this year and moving Thompson back across the diamond to third, Barr has been plugged back into the lineup and has thrived since then.

The redshirt sophomore from Royal Palm Beach, Florida has started the last ten games as the team’s starting first baseman and has been more than productive for a player mostly batting at the bottom of the lineup.

In the past ten games, Barr has gone 13-for36 (.361) and has scored ten runs, driving in two of his own as well.

Players like Thompson, Collins and Ricky Eusebio are some of the most talked about players in the country, but it is players like Kennedy and Barr that solidifies the lineup as one of the best from top-to-bottom in the entire nation.

About the Author

Anthony Murphy
Anthony was born in Hawaii to a military family and has lived up and down the East Coast until settling in Virginia, where he has lived the majority of his life. He developed his love for baseball watching the Pirates play with his grandfather, soaking up his stories and knowledge of the game. There wasn’t a day during any of his summer break as a kid where he and his brother didn’t have a glove in their hand, even if it was just to play catch. While he has written on several websites about various other sports, baseball is his first true love in the sporting world. Anthony will be covering the University of Virginia and the rest of the ACC for College Baseball Central, and you can follow him on Twitter: A_Murphy88.