The Hurricanes, coming off their second straight College World Series trip and 25th in program history, feature 17 returners from a 2015 team that finished 50-14 overall and 21-7 in the ACC.
“It’s a very competitive schedule, just like last year’s,” Morris said. “It’s very tough, starting with the Atlantic Coast Conference and playing Florida out of the SEC, along with all the teams from South Florida. We’re playing just about everybody three or four times from down here. It’s another tough schedule.”
Three-time defending ACC Coastal Division champion Miami hosts 34 games inside the friendly confines of Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field, where the Hurricanes finished 34-6 in 2015.
Rutgers (Feb. 17-19) arrives for the first regular season series of the spring before the Hurricanes travel to Gainesville, Fla., for their annual rivalry series with the Gators (Feb. 24-26).
Miami will also play crosstown foe FIU four times in 2017, splitting the games home and away. A classic home-and-home will take place March 7-8, when the Hurricanes host the Panthers in the first game and make the short drive to FIU Baseball Stadium for the second.
“All the teams down here are very good,” Morris said. “I expect FIU to be better now under their current coach. They’re tough games.
“Sometimes a team down here will hold their top guy back or No. 2 starter for us….it challenges our team to play good every day against everybody, not just ACC games. I spend a lot of time talking to our team about the importance of playing on Wednesdays, not just Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.”
Miami also battles FAU and FGCU three times, as well as single showdowns with St. Thomas and UCF.
ACC series include home matchups with Georgia Tech (March 10-12), Wake Forest (March 31-April 2), Duke (April 7-8), Florida State (April 21-23) and Virginia Tech (May 18-20). Road series include trips to NC State (March 17-19), North Carolina (March 24-26), Pittsburgh (April 14-16), Boston College (April 28-30) and Virginia (May 12-14).
The annual ACC Baseball Championship will take place in Louisville, Ky., from May 23-28. NCAA Regionals are slated to begin June 2.
In 2016, Miami won the ACC Regular Season Championship for the second time in the past three seasons, was ranked the No. 1 team nationwide during the regular season and earned the No. 3 national seed for the NCAA postseason.
“Coming to Miami from Day 1 was a tremendous challenge, following Coach Ron Fraser and what had been done in the past,” Morris said. “Every year is a new year, for me, for our players and for our fans. The expectations are very, very high. We have to go out and prove that we’re good this year. Next year we’ll have to go out and prove that we’re good next year. Every year is a new year, and we want to compete, we want to go to Omaha, and we want to have a chance to win.”