No. 1 Gators Secure Series over No. 12 Miami

When one team becomes dominant over its rival, games have a tendency to look similar. It was business as usual on Saturday night in Coral Gables for No. 1 Florida. Miami made three critical errors to help the Gators cash in runs, and the Florida offense broke out to put 16 hits on the board. The Gators clinched the road series over No. 12 Miami with a 13-5 win on Saturday night.

"The hitters just tore them up tonight," Florida assistant coach Brad Weitzel said on the post game radio show. "They were just outstanding."

The win secured the Gators' tenth straight win over Miami, including 13 of the last 14 meetings.

The Florida offense was held scoreless through the first three innings. It scored at least one run in the final six innings. The Gators combined to score ten runs in the middle three innings of the game.

With Miami carrying a 3-0 lead, Brian Johnson launched a towering, two-run home run off the parking garage behind the right field fence. Freshman Taylor Gushue followed with his only blast off the garage to tie the game at three.

After Stephen Perez gave the Hurricanes a 5-3 lead with a two-run homer in the fourth inning, the Gators tied the game in the fifth. One run scored when Mike Zunino reached on a fielding error by shortstop Michael Broad. The ball was hit so hard that it might have been a double play, which would have got Miami out of the inning without any runs scoring. Instead, Johnson followed with a single to right field to score another run and tie the game.

Gushue followed with his second home run in as many innings, this one scraping even higher on the parking garage. The three-run blast was Gushue's third of the season. He ended the game 3-for-4 with two runs scored and four RBIs. Gushue, who should be a senior in high school, is now tied for the team lead with nine RBIs.

"This Gushue kid is out of control right now. This is amazing. I don't think we have ruined him yet as a coach because we haven't coached him yet," Weitzel quipped. "He just came in during January, and it's very simple—see the ball and hit the ball. Sometimes as a coach, that's the best thing to tell a kid.

"He has a lot on his plate now at a new school with a heavy load of academics and full load of baseball. To do what he's doing is amazing."

Gushue and Johnson weren't the only ones carrying the offense. Nolan Fontana and Daniel Pigott combined to reach base in eight of their 11 plate appearances. The four Gators combined to go 14-for-19 (.737) with three home runs, nine runs scored and nine RBIs.

Johnson had a career high four hits and five RBIs. It came at the perfect time, as he struggled on the mound. Johnson gave up nine hits and five runs while walking one and striking out two in 3.1 innings of work. His struggles on the mound didn't affect his approach at the plate.

"You've got to have a short memory," Weitzel said. "He did that. He didn't pitch that great, but he really did help us with the bat."

Johnson left the game with the Gators down 5-3 and two men on base for the Hurricanes. Senior right-hander Greg Larson came into the game, and he didn't just get out of the jam—he dominated the rest of the game.

Larson tossed 4.2 perfect innings out of the bullpen while recording four strikeouts and throwing 51 pitches. Only one ball, a fly out by Peter O'Brien to lead off the fifth inning, was hit to the outfield off Larson.

"Greg Larson was tremendous," Weitzel said. "We have a lot of hard workers on our pitching staff, but Greg Larson is probably the hardest worker. He's out there every day working. He's a senior that is close to graduating. He's a field rat—always out there.

"We all pull for him because he's such a hard worker. For him to do that in Miami—I saw some balls where I thought we were watching a game of pool with how some of those were hit. He was eating them up with his sinker. We needed Greg Larson, and he really helped us tonight."

Florida will go for the series sweep on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Gators haven't announced a starting pitcher. The Hurricanes will start sophomore left-hander Bryan Radziewski (1-0, 5.59).


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