Miami baseball fizzles out of NCAA Gainesville Regional

Jun 17, 2019; Bradenton, FL, USA; Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 17, 2019; Bradenton, FL, USA; Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami baseball team fizzled out of the Gainesville Regional following a 7-2 loss to South Alabama on Sunday. South Alabama averaged a 1-0 loss to Miami in the opener of the NCAA Tournament for both teams. Miami scored six runs in the three games in Gainesville after scoring five in the ACC Tournament.

Lack of offense hindered Miami all season and it was the undoing that ultimately led to the end of the Hurricanes season. Miami had seven hits in 32 at-bats against three South Alabama pitchers in the loss to the Jaguars. The Hurricanes were unable to string hits together. Both Miami runs came on solo home runs.

Yohandy Morales homered in the top of the fifth and Alex Toral in the sixth after South Alabama took the lead by plating four in the bottom of the third. The inability for Miami to hit with runners in scoring position hurt the Hurricanes all weekend. Miami was one for 20 with runners in scoring position at the Gainesville Regional.

After three pitchers combined to shut out the Jaguars’ offense on Friday, the Miami baseball team was unable to advance. Jake Garland started on Sunday for Miami. Garland lasted three innings, allowing four runs on four hits with one strikeout. Danny Federman relieved Garland and kept Miami in the game.

Federman pitched 3.1 innings allowing one hit and three strikeouts. After an inconsistent regular season, Federman was clean in Gainesville. In the Hurricanes’ only win on Friday, Federman pitched 0.2 innings retiring both batters he faced. All-American closer Carson Palmquist allowed the game to get out of reach.

South Alabama hit Palmquist for two hits, three earned runs, one walk, two strikeouts and a pair of eighth-inning home runs. Those long balls extended the Jaguars’ lead to 7-2. With the anemic Miami offense, the Hurricanes were finished. Miami was unable to get through on South Alabama starter JoJo Booker.

Booker allowed only the two home runs to cross the plate. Miami worked Booker for four hits, five walks and one hit batter, but stuck out four times in 5.1 innings against the Jaguars starter. The inability to hit with runners in scoring position was ultimately the Hurricanes’ undoing and ended their season.

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Catcher Adrian Del Castillo and Toral lead the Hurricanes departing after the season. Morales had a breakout freshman season and will be the star for Miami over the next two seasons. The Hurricanes need more consistency from their starting rotation and throughout the lineup in year four under Gino DiMare.