CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Coming off a 12-0 sophomore season at the University of Miami, with two saves, a 2.69 earned-run average and a room full of awards, Cesar Carrillo set two goals for himself this season.

The hard-throwing right-hander sought to help the Hurricanes win the College World Series and become a first-round pick in the June 7 First-Year Player Draft.

With Miami fighting a late-season swoon, the World Series aspiration is in question. But the first-round goal remains. Carillo is widely predicted to be a first-rounder, maybe even going to the White Sox in his native Chicago.

In two seasons of collegiate competition, Carrillo is 24-2. He won 24 straight games -- putting him within two of the NCAA record -- until losing to Clemson late in the season. He also then lost in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, despite yielding just two runs in seven innings to North Carolina State.

But professional scouts aren't worried about won-loss records. They love Carrillo's fastball, which has reached 97 mph on occasion. And they love that this season he has developed a second deadly pitch -- a two-seam fastball that runs in on right-handed hitters and fades away quickly to lefties.

Carrillo also has an intangible that scouts love.

"His character is unmatched, really," said J.D. Arteaga, the Miami pitching coach who pitched for 5 1/2 seasons in the Minor Leagues, reaching Class AAA. "He goes out there every game and it's his life. He puts himself into that one thing. He's 100-percent committed. That's why he gets the most from his talent."

Carrillo, a draft-eligible junior after he had to sit out his freshman season because of a low ACT score, is 6-foot-2 and a wiry 177 pounds. Mention that he looks a little slim, and Carrillo shoots back, "You can ask Pedro Martinez if he feels too small. I've worked a lot on my legs and as long as they are strong, I feel I can go out and compete every day."

Heading into an NCAA Regional Tournament that Miami is hosting, Carrillo has struck out 111 batters in 110 innings while walking just 20. His ERA jumped in his last two starts, but still is at a paltry 2.29 -- several runs lower than others in the Hurricanes' regular rotation.

Carrillo also has become far more effective early in games than he was a year ago, when his ERA was 7.88 in the first inning and 1.81 thereafter. When he mentioned before the season to Arteaga that he wanted to be a No. 1 draft pick, Arteaga said he needed to improve his game preparation routine.

"I said, 'First-rounders compete from the first pitch to the last pitch and throw as hard as they can,'" Arteaga said. "He agreed. One of the great attributes he has is that he listens. And he wants to get better every time out."

Carrillo, who is of Mexican descent, is having no second thoughts about sticking around for a senior season at Miami, despite the Hurricanes' stature as a perennial power.

"I've been ready," he said of moving to the professional level. "I've accomplished about everything here I feel I needed to accomplish."