Gators finish series win over Miami

In the decisive third game of the series, Florida and Miami played a close game that was ultimately decided with one swing.

Tied at one in the fourth inning, Florida left fielder Harrison Bader broke out of a short slump with a long home run to left field, giving the No. 5 Gators a 2-1 lead they would hold to earn the series win over No. 8 Miami.

Bader was in a lengthy battle with Miami starting pitcher Enrique Sosa, who struck him out looking in the first at-bat. The junior outfielder worked the court to 3-2 before hitting a hanging slider well over the left field bleachers for his fourth home run in seven games this year.

“I found myself in a lot of two-strike counts,” Bader said. “You can never lose that battling aspect at the plate. You’re not out until you get three strikes, so I was just trying to put a good swing on the ball and was lucky to hit one out.”

On the mound, Sunday’s game had a lot of early similarities to Saturday. In game two, A.J. Puk breezed through the first five hitters before his control abandoned him and seven of the next nine hitters reached before he was pulled. After Sunday’s starting pitcher Dane Dunning retired the first five hitters, his control looked shaky.

He walked the bases loaded and a passed ball by catcher Mike Rivera allowed Miami’s only run to score. Dunning regained his control over his final three innings, allowing just a hit batter. He threw a hitless five innings while walking three, hitting one and striking out four on 81 pitches.

“He battled through it,” Florida coach O’Sullivan said. “He gave up no hits in five innings, but trust me, I’ve seen him sharper in scrimmages. He’s got an electric arm and is going to get better. I’m hoping this is an outing that gives him huge confidence moving forward. We’re going to hang with him.”

Dunning came out with a no-hitter, but Brandon Lopez broke it up on a two-out single against Florida lefty Danny Young. Shaun Anderson threw a perfect inning with two strikeouts, and after Kirby Snead gave up a single to All-American catcher Zack Collins, O’Sullivan handed the ball to closer Taylor Lewis.

The right-hander allowed just an infield single in 1.1 scoreless innings, earning a save on Sunday after picking up the win on Friday.

“Taylor Lewis was nails at the end and very aggressive,” O’Sullivan said. “Our pitching was great today.”

The Gators return to action on Tuesday at Florida Atlantic at 6:30 p.m. Florida will start sophomore right-hander Brett Morales, who threw six perfect innings against USF on Wednesday.

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