Tuesday, February 28, 2017

UF Baseball: No. 2 Florida vs No. 17 Miami Series Recap

For the first time since 2012, the Florida Gators have swept the Miami Hurricanes! This past weekend in Gainesville, the Gators won all three games by scores of 1-0, 2-0, and 6-2. With this sweep, they have now beaten the 'Canes in three consecutive series! Here's a recap of each game.

Game 1 (February 24th)
On a bustling Friday night that saw an attendance of 5,385 fans, the No. 2 Florida Gators (4-1) prevailed over the No. 17 Miami Hurricanes (2-2) by a slim margin of 1-0.

Taking the mound for the opener was touted ace Alex Faedo (1-0, 2.70 ERA). He did not disappoint one bit. On a career-high 119 pitches, Faedo tossed 8.2 innings of shutout ball. He allowed just two hits the whole game, walked just one, and struck out eight Hurricanes. The two hits he gave up were a double to Edgar Michelangeli in the fifth inning and a soft single from Michael Burns in the seventh inning.

Faedo would have had the complete game shutout after inducing what seemed to be a game-ending groundout from Burns, but Dalton Guthrie bobbled it at shortstop. A stolen base and a walk to Johnny Ruiz prompted head coach Kevin O'Sullivan to pull Faedo after a masterful performance.

Coming in for the one-out save was Miami Shores product Frank Rubio. After a rough outing in Jacksonville on Tuesday, the former walk-on redeemed himself perfectly as he struck out clean-up hitter Romy Gonzalez to secure the win and earn his first save of 2017.

The Gators banged out eight hits off of Miami starter Jesse Lepore (1-1, 0.75 ERA), but their only run of the game came in the third inning. After a Dalton Guthrie walk and an Austin Langworthy single that moved him to third base, third-hole hitter Jonathan India strode to the plate. After taking a strike, the sophomore smacked a single past third base to plate Guthrie for the game's only run.

This was India's only hit of the contest as he turned in a 1-3 effort with a walk. Some other Gator offensive performances worth praising are junior Christian Hicks and sophomore Deacon Liput. Hicks was 2-4 with a pair of singles while Liput recorded the only Gator extra-base hit in the second inning with a leadoff triple. Unfortunately, he would not score as he was thrown out at the plate on a Keenan Bell groundout.

Final Takeaway
This game set the tone for the series as Florida used timely hitting and spectacular pitching to down the 'Canes. Before recapping Game 2, here are my final tidbits from the opener:

  • Miami starter Jesse Lepore turned in a good effort himself as he went six innings, allowed eight hits, struck out six, walked two, and hit just one batter (Keenan Bell).
  • In his three appearances agains Miami, Alex Faedo has a stat line of 21.1 innings pitched, one earned run, seven hits allowed, and 27 strikeouts. That is complete domination right there.
  • A Miami runner reached third base just once the whole game.
  • With this victory, Sully now has 400 wins in his coaching career!

Game 2 (February 25th)
In Game 2, the Mac was packed to the brim as 6,160 people showed up for the game. This was the second highest attendance total in program history! As for the game, the No. 2 Florida Gators (5-1) once again prevailed by the skin of their teeth as they defeated the No. 17 Miami Hurricanes (2-3) by a score of 2-0.

Making his first start against the 'Canes, Brady Singer (2-0, 0.71 ERA) turned in a marvelous performance. Tossing 7.2 shutout innings, the sophomore flamethrower allowed just five hits while walking three and striking out 11 Hurricanes. After a career-high 109 pitches, he was relieved in the eighth inning in favor of Nick Horvath with runners on first and second.

Horvath responded to the pressure perfectly. On five pitches, the junior lefty struck out third-hole designated hitter Johnny Ruiz to end the threat and preserve the 2-0 lead.

In the ninth inning, senior Frank Rubio came on again in an attempt to earn his second save of the year. He induced a first-pitch groundout from Edgar Michelangeli, a groundout from Romy Gonzalez, and struck out Greg Veliz to end the game and win the series. He needed just nine pitches to do it.

Florida had just three hits the whole game and two of them were home runs. In the third inning, third-string catcher Mark Kolsovary launched a 2-1 pitch over the left field fence for his first bomb of the season. Three innings later, Jonathan India again terrorized the 'Canes as he hit the first pitch he saw over the left field fence for his second dinger of the year.

The only other Gator to register a base knock was Deacon Liput. He went 1-3 with a double in the second inning.

Final Takeaway
After securing a third straight series win over the Hurricanes, Florida set their eyes on the sweep. Before recapping Game 3, here are my final tidbits on the close Game 2 victory:

  • Miami did threaten with runners on first and third with one out in the fifth inning, but Singer induced a 5-4-3 double-play ball (third to second to first) to keep the 'Canes scoreless.

*All stats accredited to FloridaGators.com

Game 3 (February 26th)
In the final game of the series, a good amount of fans still showed up as 5,262 were in attendance for the 1 p.m. start time. The No. 2 Florida Gators (6-1) finished the job off as they defeated the No. 17 Miami Hurricanes (2-4) by a score of 6-2.

Jackson Kowar (2-0, 1.59 ERA) got the start and delivered a fine performance on this Sunday afternoon. In 5.2 innings of work, he allowed just one earned run on four hits as he walked three and struck out seven with one hit batsman.

After 89 pitches coupled with a walk and a single in the sixth, Kowar was pulled for Michael Byrne with the score 4-1. The sophomore recorded a strikeout to end the threat and in the seventh he sandwiched two walks in-between a double play. After his second free pass, Byrne was relieved for true freshman Austin Langworthy.

As had been the trend in the series, Langworthy recorded a strikeout to escape the jam and went on to finish the game. His final stat line was 2.1 innings thrown, one earned run allowed, and three strikeouts.

Florida trailed early after a solo home run in the fourth inning, but the Gators responded quickly as they put up a three-run spot in that very same inning. They would then proceed to tack on a run in the fifth through seventh innings.

Dalton Guthrie had himself a day. He went 3-4 with a double, two RBI's, and a walk. The only other Gator with multiple hits was Christian Hicks. He went 2-3 with a run scored and was responsible for tying the game with a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning. This was one of three sacrifice flies for Florida as JJ Schwarz and Nelson Maldonado also plated one run a piece via deep fly outs.

The Gators pummeled Miami's pitching for 10 hits and also bested the 'Canes on the base paths as Ryan Larson, Deacon Liput, and Nick Horvath all nabbed a stolen base.

Final Takeaway
It was a very successful series for Florida as they upped their winning streak over Miami to four games. Before looking ahead to this week, here are my final tidbits on both Game 3 and the series as a whole:

  • Guthrie's double was his second of the year.
  • Larson's stolen bag was his second of the season while Liput's and Horvath's were their firsts.
  • With a total attendance of 16,807, the 2017 Miami series now marks the most attended weekend home stand in Gator baseball history!
  • It was a rough series for potential first rounder JJ Schwarz as he went 1-10 with an RBI, one walk, and five strikeouts.
  • The only player to account for Miami's offense all weekend was sophomore third baseman Romy Gonzalez. Both runs in the Sunday game came from solo home runs off his bat in both the fourth and eighth innings.
  • Miami made three total errors in the series while Florida had just one.

*All stats accredited to FloridaGators.com

Looking Ahead
Riding the momentum from a big sweep, the No. 2 Florida Gators will now play a mid-week series against the UCF Knights (7-0) in both Gainesville and Orlando before returning to Gainesville to host Columbia (0-0) in a three-game set. Barring my health, I should be working all three of the Columbia games.

As expected, the probable starters for the Columbia series will be Alex Faedo on Friday night, Brady Singer on Saturday afternoon, and Jackson Kowar on Sunday afternoon. For the UCF game tonight, true freshman Nate Brown will be making his first career start.

Game time for the UCF contests are both at 6:30 p.m. Tonight's game can be seen on the SEC Network and heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network. Tomorrow's game can only be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network.



No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.