No. 20 Florida (5-3) baseball put up a four spot on six hits in the first inning, added two runs in the fourth and held off a ninth-inning Hurricanes’ threat to take the series finale, 6-4, at No. 17 Miami (4-3) Sunday afternoon in Coral Gables.
The Gators used 11 hits and relied on seven arms, including freshman A.J. Puk (1-0) who chalked up the win, and sophomore Eric Hanhold, who earned his first career save in the game-three victory over the Hurricanes.
Florida tied its Saturday night output of six hits in the first inning alone Sunday after batting through the order and putting up four runs, courtesy of three singles, two doubles and a triple. Junior Taylor Gushue first plated sophomore Richie Martin after Martin doubled to lead off the game. A freshman Peter Alonso triple brought Gushue across the dish and Alonso then scampered home on a freshman Ryan Larson single down the right-field line for the 4-0 Florida lead.
Miami’s Brad Fieger had a RBI double in the bottom of the first, followed by a Dale Carey solo homer in the third frame to put the first two runs on the board for the Canes.
UF added two in the fourth, the first on a junior Casey Turgeon groundout that plated freshman John Sternagel after Sternagel connected for his career-best second hit of the day and moved to second and then third on freshman Buddy Reed’s sac bunt followed by a Miami throwing error. Reed then crossed home on a dropped third strike that resulted in Miami’s second throwing error of the stanza for a 6-2 UF advantage.
Canes’ Tyler Palmer and David Thompson connected for back-to back RBI singles through the left side for the Canes in the bottom of the fifth to narrow UF’s lead, 6-4, but Sternagel tagged third for the force out and threw to first to end the inning.
Fighting back in the final frame, UM threatened with two runners on and one out, but the UF bullpen trio of junior Ryan Harris, sophomore Danny Young and Hanhold halted a Miami comeback as Florida won the series finale, 6-4.
Freshman Peter Alonso’s first-inning triple was the second of the season for the Gators and the first of Alonso’s career donning the Orange and Blue.
Four Gators had multiple hits (2) in Sunday’s Florida win over Miami (Martin, Alonso, Larson and Sternagel), the most players with multiple hits in a single game for the Gators this season.
Sunday’s contest brought several lineup changes for the Gators as Gushue was UF’s DH for the first time in 2014, Mattson earned his first start as a Gator behind the plate at catcher and Sternagel saw his first career start at Florida as Sunday’s third baseman.
Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan Opening statement:
“I told the players before the game to be a gritty team and get out with a win no matter how we have to do it. Our strength is our depth. We’ve got a lot of young guys to work in – we started four freshmen in the lineup. John Sternagel got his first start and got a couple of hits. A.J. Puk came in and did a nice job. Logan Shore did a nice job. Kirby Snead came in and did a nice job. This is a different environment. It’s one thing to pitch at this level, but now you have to pitch on the road against a quality team. We’re young. We’re not nearly a finished product yet and we’ve got a lot of work to do, but I liked the fight we showed today and hopefully we’ll look back down the road and think, ‘that’s kind of what got us going.'”
The No. 20 Gators return home to McKethan Stadium to face in-state foe Florida Gulf Coast on Thursday, Feb. 27, with the first pitch slated for 7 p.m. The game will be carried on SUN/FSFL, streamed live online via GatorVision and can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell.
SOURCE: Florida Gators Athletics