(SPECIAL TO FIGHTIN” GATORS)
After junior Kirby Snead recorded the first two outs of the ninth inning, sophomore Justin Fowler (2-for-4) doubled down the right-field line and was replaced by freshman pinch runner Nate Ostmo. A passed ball moved the runner over and senior pinch hitter Joe Purritano drew a walk. Junior Shaun Anderson (2-0) took over for Snead and sophomore Dustin Shirley’s grounder was thrown wide of first by sophomore Dalton Guthrie, bringing home Ostmo with the tying run. Sophomore Kyle Holbrook followed with a single into right field, however, sophomore Nick Horvath gunned down Purritano at the plate with a perfect strike to sophomore JJ Schwarz to keep the contest tied.
Anderson retired the Big Green in order for three straight innings to set the stage for Reed’s heroics. The right-hander worked a career-high 3.1 innings, allowing one hit, and matched his career best of four strikeouts. Reed, who had drawn three walks, connected on his first homer since June 17, 2015, against Miami at the NCAA College World Series off of junior Michael Danielak (0-1). Danielak had held the Gators scoreless for 4.1 innings and had not surrendered a run this year.
Junior Michael Ketchmark had staked the Big Green to a 1-0 lead with a two-out solo homer to left field in the second inning off of junior A.J. Puk. The homer ended the Gators’ scoreless streak at 21 innings dating back to the ninth inning on Tuesday night at UCF after the staff had thrown consecutive shutouts and was the team’s first big fly allowed this year.
Schwarz (1-for-2, two RBI) tied the game in the third inning with a sacrifice fly to center field. Freshman Nelson Maldonado led off with a single, sophomore Christian Hicks drew a walk from junior Jackson Bubala and Reed earned a free pass with one down. Schwarz’s second sac fly of the season plated Maldonado with the tying run.
Freshman Mike Brown scored on a wild pitch in the fifth inning to give the Big Green a 2-1 advantage. Brown had led off with a single into left field before Maldonado made a sliding catch in left field for the first out. A single by Fowler gave Dartmouth runners on the corners before Puk had senior Adam Gauthier pop up for the second out. After a wild pitch scored Brown, Dustin Shirley and freshman Matt Feinstein drew walks. Puk then had senior Thomas Roulis ground out to end the frame.
Junior Peter Alonso knotted the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the inning with his team-leading third sacrifice fly that brought in Hicks. Hicks had started things off with a base-hit into center field and moved into scoring position on Reed’s second walk of the afternoon. Sophomore Patrick Peterson replaced Bubala (4.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 5 BB) and walked Schwarz to fill the bags with one down.
In the sixth, freshman Rob Emery had a leadoff single and senior Nick Ruppert walked, bringing freshman Brady Singer in for Puk (5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 4 K). Junior Ben Socher laid down a sacrifice bunt to move his teammates into scoring position and Singer responded by striking out Ketchmark and having Fowler fly out to right field.
Schwarz moved the Gators in front, 3-2, with a two-out RBI single in the seventh that brought home freshman Jonathan India. Hicks drew a leadoff walk and was replaced by India, who swiped second base with one down. After Peterson retired Reed, Danielak was summoned from the bullpen. Schwarz stroked a 1-0 pitch into left field to score India and wound up on second base on a Big Green throwing error.
Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan
"It was a difficult day in a lot of ways, but it ended on a really positive note. We struggled offensively, we hit too many fly balls and we've just got to get better. A.J. (Puk) gave us a solid start, but I thought Brady Singer coming in was outstanding with first and second and nobody out and (not letting) them score. Shaun (Anderson) came in, and he was outstanding. I think our relief pitching was really good. We did just enough. Obviously, we made some mistakes, but they're things that we can learn from, and we look forward to getting out there again tomorrow."
On Nick Horvath's game-saving assist in the bottom of the ninth inning to throw out a Dartmouth runner at home plate:
"That's an unbelievable play by Nick (Horvath). He was moving toward center, and I didn't think he had a chance, to be honest with you, and he threw a strike. That's why we have the ability to move him in there with a lead there or a tie game late. It was a heck of a throw. It was a perfect throw, he had to get it in the air and JJ (Schwarz) finished with a nice tag."
Junior outfielder Buddy Reed
On his game-winning home run:
"Well, I hit a fastball. Give Dartmouth credit for a great game. They did well pitching and fielding and I just looked for a pitch and tried to put a good swing on it and thank the Lord that I did. I first thought it was a pop-up; God is good and we won."
Sophomore catcher JJ Schwarz
Mind-set when you saw the ball coming from Nick Horvath in the ninth inning:
"Honestly, I thought he was throwing it to third and I then just saw it coming right towards me. I caught it and then saw the kid right there and tried to tag him as fast as I could."
· Today’s extra-inning game was the first for Florida since May 9, 2015, a 9-7 victory at Vanderbilt.
· The Gators improved to 7-0 at McKethan Stadium and have claimed 14 straight wins at home dating back to last season.
· Buddy Reed’s homer raised his hitting streak to seven games.
· Reed has been responsible for Florida’s last three walk-off wins: single against Miami on Feb. 20, 2015, catcher’s interference against Eastern Michigan on Feb. 24, 2016, and tonight.
· Brady Singer delivered three scoreless and hitless innings out of the bullpen.
· Shaun Anderson improved to 2-0, with both of his career victories coming this season.
· Dalton Guthrie’s hitting streak ended at a career-high nine games.
· Christian Hicks reached base in all three plate appearances today, with two walks and a single.
· Dartmouth had a 6-5 advantage in hits today.
The Gators and Big Green will wrap up the series tomorrow at 12 p.m., with sophomore RHP Alex Faedo (2-0, 0.75) facing sophomore RHP Clay Chatham (0-1, 9.00). Due to Dartmouth’s travel plans, no new inning can begin after 3 p.m. The game can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell.