Sunday, February 28, 2016

UF Baseball: #1 Florida Wins Road Series vs #6 Miami

The #1 Florida Gators bounced back from last night's loss and defeated the #6 Miami Hurricanes 7-3 to win their first road series of the year.

Gator starter Alex Faedo improved to 2-0 after a phenomenal pitching performance today. Mirroring Shore's gem on Friday night, Faedo took it right to Miami's lineup as he tossed 6.1 no-hit innings, allowed no runs, and struck out a career-high 12 batters! In fact, only three Hurricane baserunners reached against him by means of two walks and an error.

Faedo unfortunately would not be able to complete his no-no as coach Kevin O'Sullivan pulled him from the game after 93 pitches. This was a very smart move in my opinion as there is a long season ahead and the Gators were up 4-0 at this point.

Alex Faedo had Hurricane hitters off-balance all game long. Photo credits: Anthony Tolomeo

Coming in for relief was lefty Kirby Snead, who kept the no-hitter intact for his 1.2 innings of work. The junior threw very well as he struck out three and walked just one on 25 pitches.

Kirby Snead dealing out of the bullpen. Photo credits: Anthony Tolomeo

Coming in to close the no-hitter out in the ninth was junior Shaun Anderson. Unfortunately, it was not Shaun's best outing as Miami finally broke through for their first hit of the game with no outs. To make matters worse, the 'Canes strung together a few hits and ended up scoring three runs (two of which were earned) off of Anderson.

Sully would not let this get any further as he called on junior Dane Dunning for the final two outs of the game. Dunning would deliver and end the madness as he recorded the final two outs via strikeout and groundout on eight pitches.

Offensively, the Florida lineup took a complete 180ยบ turn from last night as they banged out 12 hits and plated seven runs. Five different Gators had two hits in today's game, with four of those players residing in the top of the lineup.

Leadoff man Dalton Guthrie led off the game with a single and finished 2-4 with two RBI's and two runs scored. In the three-hole, designated hitter JJ Schwarz started to find his stroke as he went 2-3 with a triple, a game-high three RBI's, and two runs scored.

JJ Schwarz is slowly returning to the dangerous offensive form we saw during his freshman season. Photo credits: Anthony Tolomeo

Batting cleanup, Peter Alonso went 2-4 and notched one RBI on the day. After him, Jeremy Vasquez batted 2-3 in the fifth spot but did not score or drive anyone home. Rounding out the multi-hitters in the seven-hole, freshman Deacon Liput had a 2-3 performance while also scoring once.

The Gator defense was a tad bit shaky as both Peter Alonso and Dalton Guthrie committed an error a piece, but both of these gaffes came with no runners on and only Guthrie's came back to haunt the Gators when UM tried to stage a last-ditch rally in the ninth.

Final Takeaway:
This is a huge series win for the #1 Florida Gators to start out the season. To come in to Coral Gables and get two masterful pitching performances from your ace and your Sunday guy, as well as some solid offensive production from the lineup, has got to have the Gators in high spirits as they embark on the long trip back to Gainesville (depending if you are flying or driving).

Here are some of my final tidbits from both this game and the series as a whole:

  • Shaun Anderson faced and struck out his former teammate in Zack Collins during the ninth inning today. Both of them played high school ball together at American Heritage (Plantation).
  • Jon India and Buddy Reed were the other two Gators with hits today. 
  • Mike Rivera had a tough series as he went 0-11 with one RBI.
  • Buddy Reed drew a team-high two walks today.
  • The Gators only struck out twice today (Jeremy Vasquez and Nelson Maldonado), which is substantially better than the nine punch outs they had last night.
  • The Florida pitching staff struck out 17 Miami Hurricanes in the game.
  • Miami's Christopher Barr broke up the no-hitter with a single over shortstop Dalton Guthrie's head and with the bases loaded Johnny Ruiz delivered a bases-clearing double to avoid the shutout.
  • All three of Miami's hits came off of Shaun Anderson.
  • Florida has now won six of the last seven regular season series against Miami. The last time Miami won a series vs Florida was in 2014, my freshman year at UF. The last time Miami swept Florida in a series was 2009.

Despite dropping one game in Coral Gables, Florida (7-1) should still remain #1 in the rankings come Monday. With a day of recovery/practice on Monday, the Gators will prepare for a home-and-home mini-series against the UCF Knights (6-2).

The Gators will travel to Orlando for Tuesday's game against the Knights before coming back to Gainesville for the final game on Wednesday. The probable pitchers at this time are unknown, but the times for the games are 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively. Tuesday's game is not televised, but Wednesday's game can bee seen on the SEC Network.

As for "the U', it is disheartening to have one of your arch rivals come into your ballpark and win a series. They are fortunate enough to not have been no-hit at home for the first time in school history or shut out for the second time this season. Looking to use Monday as a period of reflection and a time to get back on track, Miami (5-2) will prepare to face the Miami Marlins (0-0) in a spring training exhibition game in Jupiter on Tuesday.

Afterwards, they will face the FGCU Eagles (2-5) at home for one game before hosting the Manhattan Jaspers (1-2) in a three-game weekend series.

*All stats accredited to

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