Junior reliever Danny Gil had some big shoes to fill in his freshman season at Miami.
Gil’s brother, David, was an All-American starter as a Hurricane and in 1999 went 12-0 as a junior.
To Gil, David is his biggest mentor along with his dad, who also happens to be named David. Because of his brother’s fame in the orange and green, Gil felt pressured at times his freshman season.
“I’ve always been the type of guy that has wanted to be myself and be my own person,” Gil says. “I try not to compare myself to my brother, and obviously we’ve become two different people now because he was a starter and I’m a reliever.”
Speaking of relieving, Gil has made the switch a couple of times back and forth from reliever to starter and now back to a reliever. Gil joined the Hurricanes bullpen as a freshman and was second on the team in appearances, going 8-0 in 27 games with a 3.03 ERA as the team made it to the College World Series.
Last yea, Gil was expected to be the stopper out in the bullpen, but he struggled with his command. Gil went just 2-3 with a 5.34 ERA and three saves, but he was battling through a sports hernia.
“It was really frustrating because I was being limited, and I’m a pitcher that goes all out,” Gil said. “I just didn’t want to let my team down by not playing because I love competing and I felt like not competing would have been the worst thing.”
After off-season surgery before this season, Gil came back and his role seemingly changed. He was going to have to make the jump from reliever to starter.
Gil has made only two starts this season, the first a loss against Winthrop and the second a win at UCLA. With Scott Maine back from an off-season injury, Gil is back in the set-up role and is flourishing once again.
“This is definitely more normal for me, because as a starter I was trying to be more efficient,” Gil said. “As a reliever I can go after everybody and try to strike everyone out.”
With Gil, Andrew Lane, Jon McLean and Chris Perez, if the Hurricanes are handed a lead, they rarely are going to give it up.
“We have a lot of experience out there in the ‘pen,” Gil said. “Chris and I are really starting to mature and McLean and Lane had already matured and we really just feed off of each other. When that starter comes out, our main goal as a group is to not give up one run, or even one hit.”
Douglas C. Kroll can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.