Florida completes sweep at Mississippi State

The Gators came in wanting to prove they could play on the road and did so by finishing a sweep in Starkville.

After using its pitching on Saturday, the Florida offense collected 12 hits, including two home runs from sophomore Pete Alonso, to carry the team to a 10-5 win over Mississippi State on Sunday.

“It’s hard to sweep anyone in this league at home, let alone being on the road, especially at a place like Mississippi State,” Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan said on the postgame radio show. “We had a really good frame of mind today. We talked about it for quite some time today. When you have an opportunity to sweep a series, you better play your best baseball and I thought we did. We had a good frame of mind.

“We’re playing well right now, but we’ve got to stay the course. Awfully proud of how we played this weekend.”

The Gators (31-10/12-6 SEC) scored in five of their nine trips to the plate, including the first inning. Josh Tobias roped a single to right field to score two runs and give Florida a two-run lead in the first inning.

After the Bulldogs tied the score at three following the fifth inning, Florida responded. Buddy Reed started by working a one-out walk and scored when Alonso blasted his second home run of the game to center field. The next three Florida hitters all reached to load the bases with one out. Two of them would score when Dalton Guthrie walked with the bases loaded and Richie Martin provided an RBI ground out.

When the Bulldogs cut the lead to 8-5 after eight innings, the Gators responded again. Freshman catcher Mike Rivera lined a two-out, two-run triple to left-center field that pushed the score to 10-5.

“Today was probably one of the better days we’ve had at making adjustments to their pitcher. After the second inning, we made him elevate and didn’t chase early in the count. We did a really nice job. We swung the bat great all weekend. The triple by Mike to answer back says a lot about our club. They cut it to three and we answer right back and distance ourselves again.

On the mound, freshman Alex Faedo got the start. He cruised through the first 10 batters of the game before allowing a single to right fielder Jake Vickerson. Gavin Collins followed by driving a hanging slider over the left field fence. Faedo ran into the trouble at the beginning of the fifth inning and was listed from a tie game with a runner on first base.

Danny Young entered and allowed a single and a hit by pitch to load the bases before Taylor Lewis relieved him. The junior right-hander induced a double play ball off the bat of Collins to end the inning, keeping the game tied at three.

Lewis would go the rest of the way on the mound. He allowed two unearned runs in 4.2 innings, recording one strikeout and using his sinker to keep the ball on the ground.

“Alex was really solid,” O’Sullivan said. “He hung out slider to Collins. He threw some changeups today that were really quality, and that third pitch will really help him moving forward. Danny threw the ball fine. As far as Lewis is concerned, that was probably the turning point of the game with bases loaded and he gets a 6-4-3 double play. This is a turning moment for him. He threw some really good sinkers today, made the ball moved and pitched in the bottom half of the strike zone, something he hadn’t really done this year.

The Gators return home to face Bethune-Cookman on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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