No. 1 Gators Get the Sweep

It looked just like it has in recent years. In the key moments of the game, No. 12 Miami crumbled. The Hurricanes' pitching staff struggled to throw strikes and allowed the Florida offense to maintain hope. The Gators scored five runs in the ninth inning and shut the game down to secure the series sweep with an 8-5 win. It was Florida's second sweep of Miami in Coral Gables in school history.

The win also gave the Gators their 11th straight win over Miami, including 14 of the last 15 meetings.

Miami was right where it wanted to be—two-run lead and it's closer on the mound. EJ Encinosa had the ball, ready to help the Hurricanes salvage one game in the series. Instead, his control left him. He walked Nolan Fontana to start the inning and then hit Daniel Pigott with the next pitch. After Preston Tucker grounded out, Mike Zunino tied the game with a double to right-center field.

Zunino would score on a wild pitch, and Cody Dent would later walk with the bases loaded to score a run. Tyler Thompson chipped in with an RBI single, and the Gators had their 8-5 lead.

"That Encinosa kid is one of the best closers in the nation," Florida assistant coach Brad Weitzel said on the post game radio show. "To do that against him is amazing. Our kids had great at-bats. He got a little frustrated and rattled. I don't know if he folded, or we just out-willed him there."

The rally was started by Nolan Fontana, who went 2-5 on Sunday and 7-15 over the weekend to spark the offense.

"Fontana is always on base," Weitzel said. "His at-bats are great at-bats. He battles every pitch, goes deep in the count and makes their pitcher throw a lot of pitches. He's a total battler. I don't know who is going to be a better leadoff hitter in the nation than what we see every day in Gainesville."

With Karsten Whitson out for the weekend, the Gators gave the ball to right-hander Jonathon Crawford. The sophomore's line wasn't great, as he went 4.2 innings, allowing seven hits and four runs. Crawford struck out eight hitters and showed flashes of what he can be.

If he continues to miss bats (16 strikeouts in 11.2 innings this year), Crawford could become a trusted weekend arm for the Gators.

"I thought Jonathon Crawford threw great," Weitzel said. "His arm is electric. He's a good athlete. He's a little green behind the ears, but that's fine because he's coming like gangbusters. I'm glad we sent him out there today. We didn't tell him until right before it because we didn't want to spook him and let Halloween be a little early this year for him.

"That kid is really coming on. He's going to be a horse for us probably this year, and next year he'll probably be a phenom. Every day he gets better because he works hard. I'm really excited we have an arm like that in our program because it's hard to find those kind of arms."

Two freshmen and a sophomore threw the final two innings of the game. Bobby Poyner recorded two outs before John Magliozzi worked an inning. Daniel Gibson was called on to record the final out of the game, which he did with a strikeout of Chantz Mack.

"That's gigantic," Weitzel said of the young pitchers getting work. "For those kids to come in during the pressure here at Miami, it's overwhelming to play here. The fans are on you constantly with constant pressure. For those young kids to go do what they did—I'm very proud of them. They grew a lot today, and that'll help us down the road."


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