True freshman Nate Brown (1-0, 3.45 ERA) made his fourth career start and went three innings. He allowed one earned run on six hits with one strikeout. When he was pulled at 54 pitches with no outs in the fourth inning, the game was scoreless and North Florida had runners on first and second.
Enter senior side-armer Frank Rubio, who gave up an RBI single to his first batter with the count 0-2. The run would be charged to Brown and UNF's only one of the contest. After allowing the run, Rubio buckled down as the Ospreys sacrifice bunted for the first out. He then struck out the next batter and induced a pop out to end the frame without any additional damage.
From there Rubio would work a perfect fifth, use a double play to get past a hit and an error in the sixth, and work a perfect seventh. When he was relieved in favor of Garrett Milchin in the eighth, Rubio had thrown a career-high four innings on 49 pitches. He allowed just two hits and struck out three batters.
The true freshman made sure Rubio's hard work did not go to waste. Milchin worked a perfect eighth inning to keep the score at 2-1 set the stage for closer Michael Byrne. In the final frame, the sophomore right-hander came in and nailed down his sixth save of the season. He tossed a perfect inning that culminated with a game-ending strikeout. As a result, Rubio would receive his first win of the season and fourth overall in his career.
The Gators took a step back from their recent offensive outbursts as they scored just two runs on six total hits. Both of Florida's runs came in back-to-back innings in the fourth and fifth.
The Gators knotted things up in the bottom of the fourth with a two-out double from JJ Schwarz that plated Austin Langworthy. In the fifth, the Gators again used clutch two-out hitting as Dalton Guthrie singled to right field to score the inevitable winning run in Keenan Bell.
In addition to the game-deciding base knock, Guthrie was also the only Gator with multiple hits on the night. He went 2-3 with a double, an RBI, a walk, and his ninth stolen base of the season.
For the other four Florida hits, Austin Langworthy went 1-3 with a run scored and a walk while JJ Schwarz went 1-2 with a double and a walk out of the six-hole. From the bottom of the lineup, both Mark Kolozsvary and Keenan Bell went 1-3 with Bell scoring a run.
Florida did a good job following up a successful weekend series with a good midweek win over a lesser opponent. The runs may have been few, but the Gators had just enough offense to pull this one out.
Before briefly previewing the weekend series ahead, here are my final tidbits on the victory over UNF:
- Florida has now won four straight games over the Ospreys.
- The Gators are now 10-4 against UNF under head coach Kevin O'Sullivan.
- Dalton Guthrie's double was his fifth of the year while JJ Schwarz's was his seventh.
- Jonathan India did not play this game. I have no idea as to why he is not seeing as much playing time.
- Florida had two errors in this game to UNF's one. Nate Brown made a bad throw to second base in the second and Christian Hicks misplayed a ball at third base in the sixth. UNF's lone error would be a backbreaker as it led to Florida scoring the go-ahead run in the fifth.
- Christian Hicks has now made nine errors on the season to lead the team.
- JJ Schwarz threw out his third base runner of the year in the top of the first inning.
- UNF had two guys with multi-hit games. They were Chris Berry (2-4) and Christian Diaz (2-4 with an RBI)
- 2,777 fans showed out for this Tuesday night game amid finals and no marquee opponent.
In another Thursday through Saturday weekend series, the No. 10 Florida Gators (25-12, 8-7 SEC) will prepare for a critical series with the No. 18 South Carolina Gamecocks (22-13, 8-7 SEC). This series will have big SEC East implications and is critical for Florida to win if they wish to keep pace with a hot Kentucky team.
Florida's probable starers for the series will be junior right-hander Alex Faedo (5-1, 2.84 ERA) on Thursday, sophomore right-hander Brady Singer (4-2, 1.68 ERA) on Friday, and sophomore right-hander Jackson Kowar (6-0, 3.51 ERA) on Saturday.
South Carolina will most likely trot out junior right-hander Clarke Schmidt (4-1, 1.31 ERA), sophomore right-hander Adam Hill (2-3, 2.23 ERA), and junior right-hander Will Crowe (3-3, 3.49 ERA).
Similar to last weekend, Game 1 will be televised on ESPNU, Game 2 can be seen on the SEC Network+, and Game 3 will be televised as well but on ESPN2. Each one can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network.
As for North Florida (26-14, 7-2 A-Sun), they will head back home to Jacksonville to host the USF Bulls (29-7) in a Wednesday contest. For the weekend series, they will play host to the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles (28-11, 4-5 A-Sun) in Atlantic Sun action at Harmon Stadium.
*All stats accredited to FloridaGators.com
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