Sunday, February 23, 2014

UF Baseball: #20 Florida vs #17 Miami

Through the power of WatchESPN, I was able to catch the Florida Gator baseball game against the Miami Hurricanes down in Coral Gables. The #20 Florida Gators lost their series against the #17 Miami Hurricanes tonight as they dropped Game 2 by a score of 5-2. The Gators had one bad inning, which happened to be the seventh. With two on and nobody out, Hurricane freshman Zack Collins blasted a three run home run off of the first pitch thrown to him by sophomore reliever Danny Young. Collins' home run was his first collegiate hit and put an end to his 0-17 skid. I knew about Collins beforehand because he played at American Heritage with Gator freshman pitcher Shaun Anderson. He was drafted in the 27th round by the Cincinnati Reds but decided to attend Miami instead. Obviously, that decision proved to be a good one for him on this night.

In his second start, freshman Brett Morales went four innings and pitched much better this time around. He gave up two runs (one earned) while striking out two and walking two on 74 pitches. Morales received a no decision and after his departure the Gators used SIX relievers! Combined, the bullpen allowed three runs on three hits, walked two, and struck out four. Out of all the pitchers, I was very excited to see freshman Frank Rubio get into the game. Frank lives in the room right across from me in the dorms at UF and I chat with him occasionally when I see him in the hallway. When he entered the game for his first collegiate pitching appearance, I couldn't help but shout in excitement. In his one inning of work, Rubio (who came in with a 2-0 count on the batter and a runner on first base) needed only six pitches to retire the Hurricane hitters. He gave up no runs and kept the Hurricane lead at three before being pulled for fellow freshman Tyler Deel in the eighth inning.

Jordan Shafer's bases loaded single and Ryan Larson's sacrifice fly accounted for the only two Gator runs on the night. Florida left a total of eight runners on base and could not touch the Miami bullpen once starting lefty Bryan Radziewski exited the game with two outs in the sixth. This game could have potentially been a lot different if one small mental mistake had not been made. With junior Braden Mattson at the plate and runners on second and third with two outs, sophomore Richie Martin took an over aggressive secondary from third base and got picked off by Radwieski to end the fourth inning. I could not believe my eyes! The fact that a lefty stepped off the rubber and picked off Martin at third base was astonishing to me because I thought it was virtually impossible to get picked off at third base. Martin's mistake proved to be a big one as Mattson would hit a leadoff double the very next inning. This was definitely not the reason the Gators lost, as a hypothetical one run Gator lead would have meant nothing after the Collins' home run.

The Gators (4-3) will look to avoid the sweep tomorrow as junior Karsten Whitson (0-0) looks to get his first win of the season. The Hurricanes (4-2) will counter with lefty redshirt sophomore Andrew Suarez (1-0). Game time is at 1 p.m. After tomorrow, 12 of the next 13 games will be at home for the Gators.

*Stats accredited to

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