The 20th ranked Gators were able to avoid a sweep Sunday as they defeated No. 17 Miami 6-4 in the series finale. Florida (5-3) stayed above .500 as it used seven pitchers to fend off the Hurricanes (4-3).
Miami starter Andrew Suarez gave up six runs on 11 hits through 7.0 innings pitched. The Gators only scored in two innings, but that would be all they needed to seal the victory.
Florida scored in the top of the first inning with hits by Richie Martin, Taylor Gushue, Peter Alonso, Braden Mattson, Ryan Larson, and John Sternagel. Martin, Alonso, Larson, and Sternagel each finished the day with two hits.
The rest of the Gator runs would come in the 4th inning when Sternagel scored on an infield RBI by junior Casey Turgeon and true freshman Buddy Reed scored on a dropped third strike by Hurricanes’ catcher Garrett Kennedy. That would be all the runs Florida would need despite threats by the Miami offense in the last inning.
The Hurricanes offensive highlights came from center fielder Dale Carey, as he hit a solo home run in the third inning. Tyler Palmer and David Thompson lone hits of the night resulted in an RBI for each of them in the 5th inning. Shortstop Alex Hernandez finished the game 2-3 with a run scored.
In the last inning, Miami had two runners on base, before sophomores Danny Young and Eric Hanhold came on in relief to face a batter each, getting both to retire to end the game. Hanhold needed only three pitches to pick up his first save of the season for the Gators. Freshman A.J. Puk picked up the win after coming on in relief of Florida starter Karsten Whitson. He tossed 1.1 innings giving up one run on one hit with two strikeouts.
The Gators return to action Thursday, February 27th to take on Florida Gulf Coast. It will be a stretch of four games in four days as FGCU and Illinois come to Gainesville for a slate of weekend games. Each team will play the others twice over the course of the four days. The first pitch for Florida on Thursday is set for 7 PM.