Sunday, February 23, 2014

UF Baseball: #20 Florida Holds Off #17 Miami's Bid For A Sweep

Thanks to WatchESPN again, I was able to watch the final game of the three game series between the Florida Gators and Miami Hurricanes. The Gators jumped on Hurricane starter Andrew Suarez in the first inning as they scored four runs on six hits. The Gators struck again in the fourth inning as they took advantage of some Hurricane errors to add two more runs. Florida's early scoring proved to be enough to edge out a close 6-4 win and avoid the sweep.

Junior Karsten Whitson, a former first round pick by the Padres who turned down $2.1 million dollars to play college ball instead and then got hurt (you will most likely hear this before every one of his starts this year), toed the rubber for the Florida Gators. In just three innings of work, Whitson struck out one and allowed two earned runs on 54 pitches to earn a no decision. After Whitson's departure, the Gators went with the same plan as last night as they used SIX pitchers to finish this game. Out of all these pitchers, it was freshman A.J. Puk who received the win as he came in after Whitson while the Gators had the lead. Eric Hanhold received the save for the Gators after closing out a wild ninth inning. I'll talk more about this later in the article.

The Florida bats set the tone early in this game as four players had two hits today and Taylor Gushue extended his hitting streak to eight games with an RBI single in the first inning. The Gators didn't need much offensive production after their big first inning, but they were glad to take two more runs as a result of two Miami throwing errors in the fourth inning. However, these would not be the only errors that affected the game.

Cue the bottom of the ninth! With one out and two strikes on Miami hitter Garrett Kennedy, Ryan Harris's potential strike three fastball was instead called ball two. Harris ended up walking Kennedy and giving up a hit to shortstop Alex Hernandez. Instead of two out and no one on, it was one out and two runners on. Danny Young came in for Harris and was set to face pinch hitter Sebastian Diaz. This is when the second blown call of the game occurred. Diaz smoked a 1-1 pitch down the line and I thought the ball was fair and this game was going to be tied. The umpires ruled that the ball was foul however, and Young ended up striking out Diaz. Eric Hanhold was called upon to get the final out, and the junior delivered by inducing a game ending fly out to centerfield. I'll always wonder if that ball was indeed foul, considering WatchESPN only showed one replay from one angle and then decided to never revisit the subject again.

The Florida Gators (5-3) return to Gainesville and are set to take on the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The Miami Hurricanes (4-3) will play a one game exhibition against the Miami Marlins (0-0) in Jupiter on Wednesday before heading to Tallahassee for a three game series against the Florida State Seminoles (6-0).

*Stats accredited to

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