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