Florida got a huge contribution from junior center fielder Buddy Reed who went 3-for-4 with two RBI on the day, the Gator pitchers threw 13 strikeouts Sunday, part of a 44 strikeout weekend for the pitching staff, and the defense was error free for the 11th time this season. It was the Gators fourth weekend sweep of the year.
Florida extended their winning streak to 15 with the win and have won 23 in a row at home in McKethan Stadium, just a game shy of the school record.
The Gators got an outstanding first five innings from Sunday starter and sophomore Alex Faedo. Faedo would go 5.2 innings and struck out nine, but surrendered four runs in the 6th inning before being pulled with two outs. Faedo has 45 strikeouts and four walks in 31 innings pitched this year.
Junior Kirby Snead (0.2 IMP, 2 H), sophomore Scott Moss (0.1 IP), junior Dane Dunning (1.1 IP, 2 K) and junior Shaun Anderson (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 K) would do the rest of the work not allowing another run to cross the plate with their name attached to it. Anderson was the game winner on Friday and pitched saves in both Saturday and Sunday’s venture.
Reed helped Faedo (5-0) get the lead early and build momentum. A two-run home run off of Missouri starter Austin Tribby scored himself and sophomore shortstop Dane Guthrie in the first stanza.
“I thought Buddy (Reed) put a really good swing on in the first inning,” Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We had some really good at bats. We just did enough. All in all, it was a really good weekend against a really good, scrappy Missouri team."
Missouri got one back in the third when freshman Connor Brumfield singled scoring sophomore Brett Bond after Bond doubled to open the inning and was moved over to third with a sacrifice.
The Gators came right back in the bottom of the 3rd. Reed singled with one of his three hits, and then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Sophomore J.J. Schwarz walked to get runners on the corners, before junior first baseman Pete Alonso doubled to score Reed and move Schwarz to third. Catcher Mike Rivera would the come to the plate and hit a two RBI double to left field scoring both Schwarz and Alonso.
Rivera would be injured at second on the slide for the double and the subsequent throw to the bag. He would lead the game. Without naming the injury, O’Sullivan said after the game on his post-game radio interview that X-Rays were negative and Rivera would be fine.
Freshman Nelson Maldonado started in left field and smacked a leadoff triple in the fourth, he would score on a sacrifice fly to left by Guthrie making the score 8-1.
The sixth inning saw Faedo unravel a bit and after giving up four hits, including two doubles, the Tigers would plate four runs in the inning cutting the Gator lead from to just one and a score of 6-5.
After stranding loaded bases in the bottom of the 6th, Florida would see pay dirt again in the 8th. A one out single by Jonathan India was followed by him stealing second base. Guthrie would hit a chopper to third and India was held on the throw to first. Sophomore 3B Shane Benes, after checking India nonchalantly threw to first base high and to the right and Guthrie alertly slid under the tag and away from 1B Zach Lavy and was safe. Reed then got on base with fielder’s choice and advanced India to third before Schwarz would double and score India for the final run of the contest.
O’Sullivan was particularly pleased with Faedo’s start and the play of Anderson through the weekend.
"First of all, compliment Missouri,” he said after the game. “They very easily could have not battled for the rest of the second half of the ballgame. They were down 6-1 and put together a really good inning there in the sixth off of Alex (Faedo) and Kirby (Snead) and had some really good swings with two outs. They came to play this weekend. It was a very hard-fought weekend. I thought that our pitching was good, other than the sixth inning. Alex (Faedo) was really good. He threw some really good changeups today. Scott Moss came in and got a first-pitch out. It was good to get him back out there. (Dane) Dunning was outstanding. I think that's the role we're going to see him in moving forward. In (Shaun) Anderson, I think we've found our guy at the end of the game. There were a lot of positives for the weekend.”
With Reed’s many contributions throughout the contest, he was quite modest afterward.
“It’s not about me, it’s about the team,” the All-American said. “I know guys are going to pick me up even when I’m not doing well, and when I’m doing well, I’m going to have to pick other guys up. It’s always a team effort start to finish - pitching, offense and defense. We had a great game, Missouri came out did their thing, definitely gave us a challenge this weekend, and I’m just glad we got the sweep. We’re going to take this into Tuesday."
Florida finishes up a stretch of nine games in a row at home on Tuesday as they host No. 20 Florida Atlantic (15-3) at 7 p.m.