Hurricanes shut out Seminoles 11-0 in series opener

Toral's grand slam lifts Miami to win as FSU's struggles at plate continue

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor
Kathy Hitchcock

Miami first baseman Alex Toral approaches home plate after hitting a grand slam in the fifth inning against Florida State, April 5, 2019, at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field in Coral Gables, Florida. The Hurricanes won 11-0.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Mike Martin stepped onto Mark Light Field for the first time in two years Friday night, just as he had so many times before over the last 40 seasons. But this time, something was different.

The longtime Florida State head baseball coach shook hands with first-year Miami coach Gino DiMare and took his perch in the visitors' dugout for the start of his final three-game series against the Hurricanes. Then the finality set in.

As a new era is beginning for Miami under DiMare, who took over for the retired Jim Morris, the Martin era is coming to an end. The 75-year-old FSU alumnus is retiring after the season, making this weekend's meeting against rival Miami his last, barring a postseason appearance between the teams.

Kathy Hitchcock

Florida State Seminoles head coach Mike Martin and Miami Hurricanes head coach Gino DiMare shake hands before their first meeting, April 5, 2019, at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field in Coral Gables, Florida.

In a rivalry filled with many memorable victories and heartbreaking losses, Friday night's series opener won't likely be remembered as either for No. 11.

First baseman Alex Toral hit a grand slam in the fifth inning that broke open the scoring and sent the Hurricanes (19-11, 6-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) soaring to an 11-0 victory in the opening game.

Kathy Hitchcock

Miami Hurricanes first baseman Alex Toral celebrates with teammates after hitting a grand slam in the fifth inning of Miami's 11-0 win against the Florida State Seminoles, April 5, 2019, at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field in Coral…

FSU starter Drew Parrish (3-3) gave up the grand slam to Toral after four scoreless innings before being yanked. He was credited with the loss after allowing four hits and walking two batters in 4.1 innings.

The Seminoles (18-11, 6-7 ACC) continued their struggles at the plate, having been shut out twice in three games and crossing home plate just twice in the last 29 innings.

Miami padded its lead in the seventh with six more runs. Shortstop Freddy Zamora hit a two-out, two-run single with the bases loaded off reliever Tyler Ahearn, who walked three batters in the frame.

Third baseman Raymond Gil sent Zamora home on an RBI single to give Miami a 7-0 lead.

Ahearn was hurt on the pitch and replaced by Gage Hutchinson, who gave up a two-run double.

Pinch hitter Isaac Quinones hit a ground ball down the third-base line, but the throw from third baseman Drew Mendoza pulled first baseman Nico Baldor off the bag to give Miami double-digit runs.

Miami's final run came on Zamora's groundout to third.

The Hurricanes had lost eight of their last 11 going into Friday night's game. FSU, meanwhile, started the season 12-0 and were ranked No. 1 in the country a month ago, but the Seminoles are 6-10 since then.

Miami ace Evan McKendry (5-1) allowed just three hits and struck out nine over seven scoreless innings to earn his fifth win of the season.

The Seminoles will need to win the next two games to avoid their first series loss to Miami since 2008.

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