Alex Toral (left) and Raymond Gil have made huge strides as sophomores (Miami Athletics)

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Miami’s Bounceback Duo: Alex Toral, Raymond Gil Grow Through Adversity

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CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Success — such as Alex Toral entering this week tied for the ACC lead with 12 home runs or Raymond Gil ranking third in the conference with a .394 batting average — tends to be broadcast over the airwaves, written about on websites and cheered from dugout benches and bleacher seats.

But failure can be subtle.

Sometimes it’s as simple as a missing name – or two – from a lineup card.

The latter scenario is what happened last year to Miami’s dynamic duo of first baseman Toral and third baseman Gil.

As highly hyped freshmen last year, Toral and Gil were immediate starters … until their slumps got so bad that Canes coach Jim Morris – who has since retired – had virtually no choice but to bench them around midseason.

Gil said there was no conversation between coaches and player before he became an ex-starter.

The posted lineup card spoke volumes.

“My heart sank when I saw it,” Gil said. “But I wasn’t playing well, and I had to deal with it.”

This was the first benching of Gil’s life, and it was an even bigger shock for Toral, who was the No. 1 player in the nation for his age as a high school freshman. He won state titles his final three years at national power Archbishop McCarthy (Southwest Ranches, Fla.) but struggled mightily last year.

To make matters worse, the Hurricanes – baseball royalty with four College World Series titles, two runner-up finishes and an NCAA-record 44 consecutive regional appearances – missed the postseason last year for a second straight season.

“Everything felt like it sucked last year,” Toral said. “I’ve always been on a winning team. I was unhappy things weren’t going my way.”


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