The No. 13 Florida Gators (19-10) had their four-game winning streak snapped Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium against Florida Atlantic (16-12). The Owls had 14 hits on the night but still needed extra innings to down the Gators 5-4. Redshirt senior Kevin Alexander (3-0) picked up the win for FAU after holding Florida to three hits over the last three innings.
Florida struck first in the home half of the first inning on a sacrifice fly from catcher Taylor Gushue. That was followed with an RBI single by first baseman Braden Mattson and an RBI groundout by right fielder Justin Shafer. Second baseman Casey Turgeon and shortstop Richie Martin led off the inning with back-to-back walks before scoring on the sac fly and base hit.
Florida Atlantic responded with runs in the second, fifth, and sixth innings before the Gators could score again. Third baseman CJ Chatham grounded out to shortstop in second scoring first baseman Ricky Santiago who had reached on an infield single and advanced on two singles following him at the plate.
Chatham added another RBI in the fifth with a solo homerun off of Florida reliever A.J. Puk. DH Esteban Puerta then hit an RBI single to score center fielder Billy Endris who doubled with two outs in the sixth inning.
With the game tied in the ninth inning, the Gators threatened to win with a walk-off but left two runners on base.
The Owls scored the go-ahead run in the 11th inning with a double steal. Left fielder Tyler Rocklein took second base while right fielder Brendon Spangler was able to cross home plate. Florida could not respond in the bottom half of the frame going three up and three down to end the game.
The Gators used six pitchers in the game. Starter Karsten Whitson lasted only 2.0 innings and gave up one run on three hits with three strikeouts. Aaron Rhodes (3-2) took the loss for Florida throwing the final 2.2 innings allowing one run on two hits with three strikeouts. Despite giving up 14 hits to FAU, the UF pitching staff recorded 19 strikeouts on the night.
Florida will travel to No. 19 Kentucky (20-9) this weekend to begin an eight-game road trip. The first game is Friday at 6:30 PM. The Wildcats are coming off an 8-3 victory over their rival No. 8 Louisville.