No. 1 Gators win a wild one over EMU 8-7

All-American center fielder Buddy Reed struggled most of the night at the plate against Eastern Michigan, but it was his hit of the glove of the Eastern Michigan catcher Jeremy Stidham that ended up driving in the winning run for Florida in Lakeland’s Joker Marchant Stadium. It was Reed’s first RBI of the season.

A walk-off catcher’s interference call with Reed at the plate and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, scores freshman short stop Jonathan India (first start at the position) for the final run of an 8-7 win for the top ranked Gators.  

It was one of the strangest nine innings, four hour games in a while. Sophomore left hander Scott Moss (3.0 IP, 6 SO, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 ER) was awarded his first collegiate start for Florida and proceeded to walk two, hit two batters, and allow a single in the first inning of the Gators 8-7 win. Moss managed to pitch out of the jam allowing just one run to cross the plate. He then led off the second inning throwing a couple of strikeouts, before another hit batsman who picked off of first base before the next batter was done.  Moss would hit another batter but strike out two more for six of the 10 strike outs the Gators threw in the contest.

First baseman Peter Alonso (1-4, 1 RBI) drove in freshman Deacon Liput (1-4) with a grounder in the third inning to even the score at 1-1.  

Freshman Jackson Kowar (2.0 IP, 2 SO, 1 H, 0 ER) entered the contest at the start of the fourth inning and netted two strike outs in the inning. After a scoreless fourth, the Eagles got on the board again in the fifth due to a throwing error by freshman Jonathan India that allowed a run to score.

Sophomore catcher J.J. Schwarz was hit by a pitch, Alonso added a single, and sophomore outfielder Jeremy Vasquez notched another base hit that was heightened by a throwing error by EMU’s Marquise Gill scoring Schwarz. Sophomore DG Mike Rivera belted a two run double to score both Alonso and Vasquez and the Gators were up 4-2.  

The sixth and seventh innings were scoreless highlighted by sophomore catcher Mark Kolosvary throwing out two base stealers in the sixth inning.

Eastern Michigan had the biggest inning of the game in the eighth, crossing the plate five times in the stanza.

Freshman Max Schuemann led off with a single into left field and  Stidham was hit by a pitch before sophomore David Lett’s sacrifice bunt attempt instead left EMU with the bases full after Gators’ sophomore Christian Hicks failed to cover third on a bunt fielded by pitcher Frank Rubio(2.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R).  A fielder’s choice by redshirt junior Marquise Gill narrowed the deficit to 4-3 and prompted a pitching change, as junior Kirby Snead replaced classmate Rubio After a pop up and a stolen base, the Eagles’ n John Montgomery (3-3, two runs) notched a two-run double that drew the ire of Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan as it appeared that it appeared very wide of the foul line. Nonetheless, it was a two run double and the Eagles were up 5-4 at this point.

O’Sullivan would make a change at pitcher bringing in sophomore Nick Horvath who then walked sophomore Luke Devenney before Jackson Martin connected on a two-run double to right field for a 7-4 lead.

The Gators fought back in the eighth scoring two runs of their own. India would get on base with a walk and then settled in at second after a wild pitch. Hicks also walked before Liput swatted a two-run triple. With no outs, a simple outfield fly would have resulted in Liput scoring and tying the game, but the Gators went 1-2-3 at the plate at that point without moving Liput home.

Shaun Anderson would come on in the ninth to shut down EMU and not allow another run. At that point it was up to the Gators bats to finish the game on a good note.

Mike Rivera led off the Gators ninth with a fly out before junior Ryan Larson and India (2-4, 2 runs) hit back-to-back singles. O’Sullivan went against the grain bringing pinch hitting freshman Nelson Maldonado, a right hander against the left hander on the mound Sam Delaplane. The decision paid off as Maldonado hit a blooper to right field scoring Larson, moving India to third, and then Maldonado wound up at second after the relay to home plate.

Delaplane then walked Liput, who is batting .500 on the season and leads the Gators in RBI with 10, to load the bases for All-American Reed. On a 1-2 count, Reed swung at a pitch and his bat hit the catcher’s mitt. Catcher’s interference was called and Reed was sent to first base and moving all the runners ahead including India who would score the game winning run.  

UP NEXT

The Gators will face No. 6 Miami (4-0) in a three game series that begins Friday at 7 p.m. The games can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network and carried on ESPN3 through the Watch ESPN app.


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