Miami is on the tournament bubble heading into the final weekend of college baseball’s regular season.

Not the NCAA Tournament bubble. That ship sank like the Titanic weeks ago.


Just a year after playing for the ACC championship and hosting an NCAA regional, the Hurricanes are sweating it out just to get into the field for next week’s conference tournament.

They strengthened their case last week by winning 2 out of 3 at Virginia Tech. But with a 10-17 league record, their margin for error is still slim as they cling to 1 of the final 2 spots in the 12-team postseason bracket.

With 3 games remaining, Miami holds a 2-game lead on Pitt and Boston College (8-19) and a 1-game cushion on Notre Dame (9-18). It has to stay ahead of 2 of those 3 teams to earn its ticket to Charlotte.

“We have to win every game,” rookie head coach JD Arteaga said after Saturday’s win in Blacksburg. “We’re beyond thinking about winning a series or sweeping a series.”

That’s not exactly true.

Because their final series is against Pitt, 1 more win might be all it takes to ensure the Hurricanes make the ACC Tournament. It would at least force BC to sweep its series at No. 4 Clemson.

Miami has qualified for the ACC Tournament every year since joining the league.

While extending that streak is certainly a goal, it’s hardly cause for celebration. Barring a miracle in Charlotte, the Hurricanes will miss out on the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2018.

That, however, only scratches the surface of how disappointing the 2024 season has been.

At 23-27, Miami is in serious jeopardy of its first losing season in 67 years.

Certainly not the kind of debut anyone anticipated when long-time pitching coach Arteaga was elevated to the head coaching position in January after the unexpected resignation of his former boss, Gino DiMare.

Even those who weren’t exactly enthused by the choice.

And there were more of those than you’d think considering Arteaga’s history with the program.

He’s the winningest pitcher in program history with 43 victories between 1994-97 and his number has been retired by the Hurricanes. He started the famed 1996 CWS title game against LSU and was in position to win until Miami’s defense — and later Warren Morris — doomed the Canes. Like DiMare before him, he was a long-time assistant at his alma mater before being hired to run the program.

But there were concerns among the segment of Miami’s fan base that likes to voice its opinions on social media about Arteaga’s lack of head coaching experience and the struggles of his pitching staff last season, which posted a 5.06 team ERA.

They viewed athletic director Dan Radakovich’s decision as a lazy hire. Especially since most of the other names connected with the job were established coaches, including ACC rivals Tom Walter of Wake Forest and Duke’s Chris Pollard.

Arteaga’s first team has done little to ease the fears. And it’s no mystery why it’s teetering so precariously on the conference tournament bubble.

You name it and the Hurricanes rank near the bottom of the ACC in it.


Their .276 team average ranks 12th out of 14 teams. Their 341 runs scored are fewer than everyone other than BC.


They’re giving up nearly 7 runs per game with only 1 regulars – starter Gage Ziehl and reliever Brian Walters – posting ERAs under 4.33.


Their 58 errors are the 3rd-most in the league.

It’s much too soon to judge the merits of Arteaga’s hiring. He inherited a team that lost 6 players to the Major League Draft. This team was picked to finish 7th in the ACC. But it’s safe to say he’s experienced his share of growing pains during his debut season.

Some of that can be attributed to several glaring transfer portal misses.

But Arteaga did hit a recruiting home run with the addition of freshman 3rd baseman Daniel Cuvet, a South Florida native who has backed up his high school All-American credentials by blasting 20 homers while hitting a team-leading .353.

And as Link Jarrett has proven in his 2nd season at rival Florida State, a quick turnaround next season is not out of the question.

Jarrett, however, already had experience in rebuilding programs before joining the Seminoles. He did it twice before at UNC Greensboro and Notre Dame.

Arteaga is in uncharted territory.

Not all successful assistants are cut out to be head coaches. Even those who have been groomed for the job.

Trying to make the transition at your alma mater only adds to the degree of difficulty.

The pressure on Arteaga will only increase regardless of what happens this weekend against Pitt. Or next week in Charlotte — assuming the Canes get there.

On-the-job training is something that happens at other places. Not Miami, where they’ve won 4 national championships, and simply hosting an NCAA regional isn’t enough to keep a coach from walking away.

You win, you win big and you win quickly.

If you don’t, your team might not be the only thing that ends with a precarious perch up on the bubble.