Toral’s Blast Powers Canes Past Rutgers, 7-1
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – It took a little longer for Miami’s offense to get going after a 19-run barrage on Opening Night, but one big swing by first baseman Alex Toral sparked another offensive explosion that led to another Hurricanes victory.
Miami (2-0) put up seven runs in two innings to pushed past Rutgers (0-2) and secure a series win on opening weekend, 7-1.
“We had a couple big hits with Alex’s home run kind of igniting us because we were down at the time, so that’s our game-winning hit,” head coach Gino DiMare said. “Overall, it was very good and we pitched. We pitched really good today with the pitchers giving up just one run.”
Trailing 1-0 in the fourth, Toral mashed a 1-0 fastball from Rutgers starter Harry Rutkowski deep to right field. The towering drive snuck just inside the foul pole for a two-run homer – his second round-tripper in as many days — that put the Canes ahead, 2-1.
“After that home run, I feel like the energy in the dugout just boosted,” Toral said. “The next inning, we had another big inning. Mike Amditis’ big hit up the middle that also got it going. We had the bases loaded there. I think we could’ve take a bit more advantage in that inning, but I think we did a great job.”
Miami added on in the fifth, stringing together an Anthony Vilar double, Freddy Zamora single and an Adrian Del Castillo single up the middle that knocked Rutkowski’s cap off, drove home Vilar and ended the evening for the Scarlet Knights’ starter.
Reliever Eric Reardon did not fare much better, lasting just two batters and not retiring either one as he walked Toral before catcher Michael Amditis smacked a two-run single up the middle to add to the lead, 5-1.
The first six Canes reached base in the fifth inning, and Miami added two more runs after Amditis’ single as reliever Garrett French walked Tony Jenkins with the bases loaded and then threw a wild pitch that allowed Amditis to score.
Miami starter Chris McMahon earned his first win of the season after tossing five solid innings, holding Rutgers to just one run on three hits while striking out four and walking two.
The right-hander faced just three batters in four of his five innings of work. Rutgers had two baserunners reach with one out in the second before Tim Dezzi followed with a single to center that Jenkins bobbled as he tried to pick up the ball, allowing Chris Brito to score and give the Scarlet Knights a 1-0 lead.
Freshman right-hander Slade Cecconi threw two shutout innings of relief in his collegiate debut, striking out a pair of Scarlet Knights. Sophomore Daniel Federman tossed a scoreless eighth to bridge the game to freshman closer JP Gates, who struck out the side to wrap up the win.
“The bullpen was outstanding,” DiMare said. “We gave Slade an opportunity and we’ve got to make a decision now on our number four for Wednesday…I thought he threw pretty good. Federman was just lights out and so was JP. It was good to have those two guys at the end. When they get on the mound, they get after guys and that’s good.”
Miami will try to earn the sweep over Rutgers on Sunday, with redshirt junior RHP Brian Van Belle scheduled to make his debut opposite left-hander Tevin Murray. First pitch is scheduled for noon.