The Gators relied on four true freshmen for pitching duties in this huge midweek contest, and none of them disappointed. Nate Brown (1-0, 3.00 ERA) got the start and was fantastic in his five innings of work. He allowed just three hits while striking out four 'Noles on 64 pitches thrown.
In the sixth inning with the game still knotted up at zero, Kirby McMullen came in and gave up a single before getting his first out via a sacrifice bunt. That was all Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan needed to see, as he pulled McMullen for left-hander Andrew Baker.
Baker induced a fly out and a groundout to escape the inning unscathed. He would end up tossing 2.2 solid innings of relief as he struck out four of the eight Seminole batters he faced. For his efforts, he was credited with his first collegiate win after Florida scratched one across in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Once the ninth inning rolled around, Tyler Dyson was called upon to get his first career save. He would do just that as he sandwiched a groundout in-between two strikeouts to put the 'Noles away.
The Gators had six total hits in the contest. Jonathan India had 1/3 of them as he went 2-3 with a key double with one out in the seventh inning. After India's double, true freshman Keenan Bell struck out and sophomore Nelson Maldonaldo was hit by a pitch to bring up junior designated hitter Mark Kolozsvary.
With two outs, the third-string catcher check swung at a 1-0 pitch and was able to put the ball right in front of FSU left fielder Rhett Aplin to score India and make it 1-0 Florida. It has to be one of the clutchest check swings in the history of Gator baseball.
Among the remaining Gators with a hit, sophomore center fielder Blake Reese went 1-4 out of the leadoff spot while junior shortstop Christian Hicks went 1-3 out of the eight-hole.
The last of Florida's players to register a base knock was junior catcher Mike Rivera. He was the only other Gator with an extra-base hit when he doubled with one out in the sixth inning.
This was a a quality win for the No. 5 Florida Gators after some their past midweek struggles. Before previewing the first SEC weekend series of the season, here are my final tidbits on yet another Gator win over the Seminoles:
- In regular season matchups, Florida has now won four straight games over Florida State at McKethan Stadium. If postseason is included, Florida is 8-1 at the Mac when facing the Seminoles.
- For the second consecutive season, Florida has posted shutouts over both in-state rivals Florida State and Miami.
- Florida's regular season winning streak against Florida State is now at four games.
- Florida State has not scored a run against Florida since June 11th, 2016 (a 3-0 Gator loss).
- In addition to going 2-3, Jonathan India stole his third bag of the season. Right behind him was Blake Reese, who nabbed his second stolen base of the 2017 campaign.
- As if leading the team in stolen bases was not enough, India also increased his doubles' lead with his sixth two-bagger of the season tonight. Mike Rivera kept up the pace though as his double was the third of year.
- Nate Brown picked off a runner in the fourth inning.
- There were strikeouts galore tonight as Florida State fanned 12 Gators and Florida punched out 10 Seminoles. JJ Schwarz and Keenan Bell had three strikeouts a piece, Blake Reese and Christian Hicks both fanned twice, and Deacon Liput and Jonathan India each struck out just once.
- There were no walks at all in the contest.
- Seminole starter Andrew Karp (0-1, 2.10 ERA) threw a good game in the loss. In seven innings he struck out 11 Gators, allowed just the one earned run on five hits, and hit one batter. He was economical too as he was at 89 pitches when he was pulled.
The No. 5 Florida Gators (13-5) will now prepare for their first SEC and road weekend series as they head to Auburn to take on the Auburn Tigers (13-5). The probables for Florida will be junior right-hander Alex Faedo (3-0, 1.37 ERA) on Friday night, sophomore right-hander Brady Singer (2-0, 1.50 ERA) on Saturday afternoon, and sophomore right-hander Jackson Kowar (3-0, 2.19 ERA) on Sunday afternoon.
Auburn will most likely counter with sophomore right-hander Casey Mize (2-0, 0.40 ERA), redshirt junior right-hander Keegan Thompson (3-0, 0.64 ERA), and freshman right-hander Davis Daniel (1-0, 4.50 ERA) as their starters for the weekend.
The start times for the games are 7 p.m. on Friday, 3 p.m. on Saturday, and 2 p.m on Sunday. Every game of the series can be seen on the SEC Network+ and heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network.
As for the No. 3 Florida State Seminoles (13-4, 2-1 ACC), they will shake off yet another loss to the Florida Gators as they head to Fort Myers to take on the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles (14-3). After the quick pitstop on the Floridian west coast, the Seminoles will then travel to Blacksburg to face the Virginia Tech Hokies (11-8, 1-2 ACC) in their first ACC road series of 2017.
*All stats accredited to FloridaGators.com
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