Former UM Baseball Star Aims for Postseason Success After Transfer to Rival FSU – NBC 6 South Florida

For Alex Toral, the choice was easy. After a star-studded high school career at Archbishop McCarthy High School in Southwest Ranches, there was little doubt the left-hander would play college baseball for the Miami Hurricanes.

That fact made it even more shocking in the summer of 2021, when Toral transferred as a graduate to a school you would hardly expect from a UM graduate: the rival Florida State Seminoles.

“It was really something I never expected. I wasn’t recruited to the state of Florida after high school just because I realized I always wanted to go to Miami,” Toral said in an interview with NBC 6.

What made a Broward County native attend a school that was his greatest rival for four seasons? Toral said it started with a conversation with FSU head coach Mike Martin Jr.

“I thought the state of Florida would give me the best opportunity to be successful and the best opportunity to go to the College World Series year after year,” he said. “Made my choice pretty easy, to be honest.”

Toral came to Tallahassee after four seasons with the ‘Canes, where he had a total of 37 home runs, including a career-high 24 in the 2019 season. The 2021 preseason All-American was one of the top players for the Seminoles that season, leading the team after this weekend’s games with 13 home runs and 41 RBIs.

“I’ve been feeling good all preseason and taking my racquets off the big guns and helping me prepare for what’s ahead,” Toral said. “The season had some bumps. The main thing is to just be consistent, do what has worked for me all season and keep going no matter what.”

Those bumps include the second-lowest batting average on the starting lineup (.226 on the season) and the Noles’ lead, who have been eliminated 65 times this season. Despite sweeps from top-10 teams like Louisville and TCU, FSU (28-17) has also lost series to Clemson and Georgia Tech — two teams that have lost records in the ACC — and been swept by Notre Dame.

In those difficult moments, Toral’s experience from his time at Coral Gables came to the fore.

“My message has remained the same. We’re getting hot at the right time, that’s all that matters,” he said. “The teams you see now, number one, two, three in the nation are really hot right now. Yes they are great teams but they are hot at the wrong time.”

One of those hot teams right now is Toral’s previous roster, a Miami team that boasts a four-game winning streak, a 35-12 record and a top-10 finish in this weekend’s three-game streak in Tallahassee.

Not only will it be a battle of the ranked teams in one of college baseball’s finest rivalries, but it will also be the Hurricanes’ last chance to claim a victory over their rivals for the first time since the 2019 season. It will be just another streak for Toral – and despite his four years in orange and green he is now looking to continue the winning streak for his new team in garnet and gold.

“I don’t know what kind of emotions will come out. It’s the same game I played but it’s going to have a little more juice in it,” he said. “I’m in the locker room with these guys right now and I have to do my best and contribute to helping the team this weekend and putting aside all the emotions that happened between me and Miami.”

Toral has one goal before he retires from college baseball: a trip to the College World Series, something he couldn’t pull off with the Hurricanes, and something that will give his new team a throne.

“I keep preaching to these younger guys that we have a chance to be legends for the rest of our lives,” Toral said. “Florida State has been to Omaha I don’t know how many times, but they never caught on. Possibly being the first team to win it would make us legends for the rest of our lives.”

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