Dane Dunning (2-0) was given the start for Florida and was spectacular in a game of this magnitude. He tossed 5.2 scoreless innings, scattered seven hits, walked just one, hit a batter, and stuck out five on route to his second win of the season.
After Dunning's departure in the sixth inning, freshman Jackson Kowar came on in relief and was brilliant as he allowed just one hit and struck out three in two scoreless innings of work.
After Kowar, Kirby Snead came in to get the final out of the eighth before Shaun Anderson entered in the ninth to close it out. Giving up just one hit, Anderson struck out two batters and induced a game-ending ground out to secure the shutout over their arch rival.
|Dane Dunning stepped it up last night as he executed his pitches and stymied any potential FSU rallies.
Offensively, Florida mustered just nine hits against FSU. However, these hits came in bunches and included a couple of home runs. JJ Schwarz led all Gator hitters as he went 3-5 with an RBI and a run scored. It seems that every time JJ plays FSU, he destroys their pitching.
The only other Gator hitter with multiple hits was Jonathan India, who finished 2-4 with a double and an RBI from the nine-hole.
The other two Gators who drove in runs both did it via the long bomb. In the bottom of the second inning, Nelson Maldonado got the Florida Faithful excited early as he smoked a 2-1 pitch over the left field wall to give Florida an early 1-0 lead.
In the very next inning, Peter Alonso put a charge into a 2-1 pitch and parked it over the left field fence for a two-run bomb that push the Gator lead to 3-0. From there, Florida never looked back.
|Peter Alonso has been on fire as he has homered in two of the last three games.
Florida has now beaten Florida State in five straight meetings at McKethan Stadium (I am including postseason play here). Before wrapping up my recap of a fantastic win, here are my final tidbits from Game 1 of the Sunshine Showdown:
- Florida has now shutout instate rivals Miami, UCF, and Florida State all in the same season.
- This is Florida's first shutout of FSU in Gainesville since March 3, 1994. I wasn't even alive then!
- Florida has won 20 straight games at McKethan Stadium and remains undefeated at home in 2016.
- Jackson Kowar had the fan of the year supporting him last night as a random fan (his friend I presume) got on his feet and chanted Jackson's name along with some other sayings throughout the freshman's entire outing. This fan was very entertaining to watch and I would like to say it had a positive influence on Kowar as he was dynamic in relief. This same fan would give a repeat performance for Kirby Snead's brief appearance as well.
- Nelson Maldonado's home run was his second of the year, while Peter Alonso's home run was his third of the year.
- Buddy Reed stole his team-leading eighth bag of the season after missing the final two games of the Harvard series. He would actually reach third base when FSU catcher Cal Raleigh threw the ball into the outfield as no one covered second base.
- FSU committed three errors in the game. They dropped about four pop ups (three of which were in foul territory), bobbled a double play ball at shortstop, and airmailed a ball into centerfield. FSU first baseman Dylan Busby also got a lot of heat from Florida fans as he was responsible for two of the dropped pop ups.
- FSU used a total of six pitchers in the contest.
- The Gator pitching staff struck out 11 Seminoles and walked just one. Likewise, FSU's army of pitchers stuck out nine Gators but surrendered four walks.
- In the top of the sixth inning with no outs and runners on first and second, third baseman Jonathan India made a spectacular diving play and, from his knees, turned a 5-4-3 double play (third to second to first).
- Nelson Maldonado made some great plays in left field all night long.
- In the bottom of the fifth inning, a near five-minute stoppage in play occurred after Dalton Guthrie struck out and Jeremy Vasquez was called out trying to score on a wild pitch. After deliberation, the umps reversed the call and called Vasquez safe. It was honestly a very baffling situation and I was just happy to see Florida get one more run added to their total.
- The Mac was packed tonight as 5917 were in attendance for the game. This was the fifth largest crowd in UF history.
The #1 Florida Gators continue to roll as they dispatched #11 FSU with no real problems last night. Words cannot describe how bad I wanted them to win this game, and a win like this is a great momentum boost heading into SEC play this weekend.
With two more games left against the 'Noles, this battle is far from over. Florida will face FSU again on March 29th in Jacksonville and April 12th in Tallahassee. Both of those games will be difficult to win, but also good measuring sticks of the Gators' team progression.
The next rematch is two weeks away though. Looking ahead to this weekend, Florida opens up conference play as the Missouri Tigers (13-6) come to town. The weekend rotation should be the same as Logan Shore will throw Friday night, A.J. Puk will throw Saturday night, and Alex Faedo will throw Sunday afternoon. All of these games can be seen on the SEC Network.
As for Florida State, they will look to score some runs next time around as they hit the road to face the Pittsburgh Panthers (7-6) in a three game series.
*All stats accredited to FloridaGators.com