Alex Faedo (5-0) got the start and delivered a strong five innings before running into trouble in the sixth inning. He would be pulled with two outs in the sixth and finished with a stat line of 5.2 innings pitched, five earned runs allowed on six hits, nine strikeouts, no walks, and a hit batsman. Despite one rough inning, Faedo's work would not go unrewarded as he notched his fifth victory of the season.
Once Faedo exited, the Gator bullpen allowed no more runs. Kirby Snead and Scott Moss came in and combined to throw one full inning. When Mizzou threatened with runners on base in the seventh and eighth, Dane Dunning came in and (despite hitting a batter) struck out two batters in 1.1 innings of solid relief.
Shutting it down in the ninth, closer Shaun Anderson came in and bypassed a leadoff hit with a strikeout and a double play ball to secure the sweep.
Offensively, Florida banged out 11 hits and did most of its scoring in the first four innings. Eight of Florida's nine starters recorded a hit today with Buddy Reed notching three of them!
Reed was a huge catalyst in the lineup today as he went 3-4 with a home run, two RBI's, two runs scored, two walks, and a stolen base. The only other Gator with multiple hits was Dalton Guthrie, who finished 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Along with Reed, Florida's other main run producer today was Mike Rivera. He had just one hit, but it was a big one as he doubled in a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately, Rivera would have to exit the game shortly thereafter due to an injury.
The #1 Florida Gators now have their first SEC series under their belt after a tough fight against Missouri all weekend. Before previewing this upcoming week of action, here are my final tidbits for today's game:
- JJ Schwarz drew a team-high two walks today and broke out of a rut when he hit a double off the wall to give the Gators a much needed insurance run in the bottom of the eighth.
- Like Schwarz, Peter Alonso's only hit of the day was an RBI double.
- Deacon Liput did not record a single hit today (0-4) and failed to reach base for the first time in his Gator career.
- Nelson Maldonado smacked his first career triple when he hit a shot to dead center field. He finished the day 1-4.
- Buddy Reed's home run was his second of the year and came from the right side of the plate. He has now hit a home run batting both righty and lefty!
- The Gator pitching staff walked no one and combined for 12 strikeouts of Missouri hitters.
- Shaun Anderson pitched his third consecutive game and earned his second-straight save today (his third of the year).
- Jonathan India stole his fifth bag of the season today. Buddy Reed stole his ninth.
- Peter Alonso made a spectacular diving play on a ground ball to his left and flipped it to Alex Faedo at first base for the first out of the game.
- Rivera's injury was a peculiar one. He got hit in the head by the incoming throw from left field upon sliding into second base after hitting a double. He would be escorted off the field and replaced by Mark Kolozsvary for the remainder of the game.
- Speaking of Kolozsvary, he cut down the only runner who tested his arm when he threw out Mizzou's Brian Sharp trying to steal second base in the top of the fifth inning.
Riding a 14-game winning streak, the Gators return to action on March 22nd to face the #18 Florida Atlantic Owls (15-3). I have a good feeling that freshman Jackson Kowar will get the start and it would be really cool if FAU threw my old high school teammate Weston Clemente to face him!
Game time is 7 p.m. and it can all be seen on the SEC Network. I of course will be there in person to see it all unfold live.
After FAU, the Gators will head to Lexington to take on the Kentucky Wildcats (13-5, 2-1 in SEC play) in their second road series of the year. That will be a fun one to watch as well.
As for Missouri, they get a week of rest as they prepare for a home series against the Vanderbilt Commodores (17-3, 1-2 in SEC play). The first game is at 7 p.m. and it can easily be assumed that both teams will throw their respective aces, Reggie McClain (Mizzou) and Jordan Sheffield (Vandy).
*All stats accredited to FloridaGators.com