Steven Branscombe / USA TODAY Sports

Faedo dominates; Gators win 7-3 over Miami to take series

In what will go down as one of the best pitching performances of the 2016 season when all is said and done, sophomore right hander Alex Faedo pitched 6.1 innings to Miami (5-2), striking out 12, and allowing no hits before succumbing to a high pitch count. The Gators (7-1) would go on to win the contest 7-3 and were on pace for a no-hit shutout until the ninth inning.

The Gators’ pitching staff carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning and totaled a season-high 17 strikeouts in taking the series from the Hurricanes for the sixth time in seven years. Miami was last no-hit in 1964 and was close to having the 3,180 game streak snapped until Christopher Barr netted a single in the ninth inning that saw the Hurricanes score three runs.

 It was one of the most dominant pitching performances you will see and Faedo (2-0) struck out at least two batters in five of the six full innings he pitched. He currently leads the gators with 19 strike outs thrown, has a .75 ERA, and limiting opponents to a .098 batting average.

“Alex (Faedo) gave us a huge lift today,” Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said after the game As much as anything, he gave us an emotional lift coming off of a tough loss, our first loss of the season last night. I could tell early on, during batting practice and pregame, that Alex (Faedo) was very, very focused. My only concern was making sure that he kept his emotions in check, but he was outstanding today. What can you say? Twelve strikeouts over 6.1 innings and we struck out 17 and walked only three today.

The Gator bats caught fire early when Dalton Guthrie was hit by pitch to start the game, Buddy Reed followed that with a single. Miami pitcher Danny Garcia (1-1) then tried to pick Reed off at first and threw wild. Guthrie was able to get to third, but a fortuitous bounce enabled the Miami first baseman to throw Reed out at second. Schwarz singled and scored Guthrie.

The Gator bats got going in the second as well when Jeremy Vasquez (2-3) single to start the inning. He would be thrown out at second by fielder’s choice by Mike Rivera. Freshman Deacon Liput has now hit in all eight games this season with a beautiful bunt single down the 1st base side. Fellow freshman Jonathan India walked to fill the bases with two outs. Dalton Guthrie then slapped the ball into left field scoring both Rivera and Liput.

While Faedo cruised along on the defensive side, Florida managed to keep getting runners on base but finally scored again in the sixth. Schwarz and peter Alonso led off the sixth with singles and Vasquez tallied a sacrifice bunt to move the two over to second and third. A pitching change for Miami didn’t matter as Rivera grounded to short doing his job by scoring Schwarz.

With Faedo still rolling, the Gator bats helped the cause even more in the seventh. India and Guthrie (2-4, 2 Runs) had singles to start the inning while Schwarz (2-5, 2 Runs) hit a triple to right field scoring both. Alonso (2-5) then flied out to center field scoring Schwarz.

Faedo was finally pulled after giving up a walk and a long fly ball to center field to start the 7th inning.  He finished with 93 pitches and 67 strikes. He was replaced by junior Kirby Snead who started where Faedo left off and notched two strikeouts to end the 7th. Snead would strike out another in the 8th on his way to another shutout inning.

O’Sullivan would try and finish the game with junior Shaun Anderson with a no-hit shutout still intact. A throwing error by Guthrie gets the leadoff batter on. Christopher Barr would dash the hopes of a no-hitter with a soft single to right field. A one-out single loaded the bases before Miami’s Johnny Ruiz cleared the bases with a double and the Hurricanes three runs. Junior Dane Dunning would relieve Anderson and strike out the first batter he faced and force a ground out to India for the final out of the game.

O’Sullivan was pleased with the game in its entirety.

“This was a big game today – one of those lessons that we learn that there will be a lot of times that a series is going to come down to Sunday,” he said. “I thought the approach at the plate was very good and seven of our nine starters had hits.”

With the 7-3 win, the Gators won the series with Miami for the sixth of the last seven times.  Freshman Liput was 4-8 in the series with Miami and walked three times. Alonso (.455) and Schwarz (.417) were also over .400 in the series.  The Gator arms totaled 32 strike outs and just six walks in the three games.

UP NEXT

The Gators will meet UCF (6-2) in a home-and-home series starting on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in Orlando, with the teams facing off at McKethan Stadium on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The games can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell.


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