The Miami Hurricanes’ 2018 baseball recruiting class is ranked eighth in the nation, third in the state (behind Florida and Florida State) and second in the ACC (behind FSU).
Miami, which had reached the NCAA Tournament 44 consecutive years before that streak was snapped last season, signed 12 freshmen and two junior colleges.
Among the Hurricanes freshmen who could make an immediate impact this season are power-hitting first baseman Alejandro Toral from Archbishop McCarthy and Gulliver Prep third baseman Ray Gil, who also has pop with 13 homers in his high school career.
Other freshmen to watch include middle infielders Freddy Zamora (Miami Killian) and Willie Escala (South Dade) and Pennsylvania right-hander Chris McMahon.
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Meanwhile, the FIU Panthers, whose recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the nation before the draft when pro teams signed their best prospects, come in at No. 21 in Baseball America’s list and No. 22 according to D1Baseball.com.
And even after those defections to the pros, the Panthers’ rookie class ranks No. 1 in Conference USA.
“We’ve had our eyes on this recruiting class for a couple of years now, watching FIU rack up premium draft talent,” D1Baseball wrote. “Many of those players ended up in pro baseball, but the class was so deep that it’s still an impressive haul, particularly on the pitching side.
“This is a group that could begin catapulting FIU to big things, beginning in 2018.”
Perhaps the most exciting FIU freshman is left-hander Logan Allen, who has an advanced feel for pitching despite a fastball that tops out at 90 mph. He also doubles as a first baseman.
“It seemed like Logan got three hits a game,” FIU coach Mervyl Melendez said of Allen’s scrimmages this fall. “And on the mound, he did unbelievably well mixing speeds and hitting corners.”
Allen was one of two FIU recruits who turned down pro offers despite getting picked in the top half of the draft (round 20 or better). The Orioles took him in the 16th round.
The other one is FIU right-hander Christian Santana, a 15th-round pick by the Brewers who has also impressed this fall.
“We knew we were getting a great pitcher in Christian,” Melendez said. “But it wasn’t until he got on campus that we saw how well he locates his pitches and how hard he works.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ For the first time since 2003, the FIU men’s soccer team (12-2-4) reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament before losing 2-1 to Duke this past Sunday.
The only disappointment for Duke, aside from the loss, was that leading scorer Santiago Patino, a junior forward who led the nation with 16 goals, was shut down in two playoff games — no goals or assists.
Instead, it was senior midfielder Paul Marie who had both assists in a 2-0 first-round win over Nebraska-Omaha and the only goal against Duke on Sunday.
Besides Marie, the biggest losses from this senior class will be defender Marvin Hezel and midfielder Donald Tomlinson. But with Patino back along with both top goalies and a deep group of midfielders, FIU should be strong again next season.
▪ The 11th-seeded St. Thomas University Bobcats men’s soccer team (14-1-1), fresh off their first-ever NAIA playoff win, will play sixth-seeded Mobile (14-3-2) in a Sweet 16 matchup on Nov. 28 in Delray Beach.