Four UF freshmen combined to limit the Seminoles to just four hits and no runs on Tuesday. The shutout is Florida’s third-straight against its in-state rival dating back to last season’s Super Regional. FSU has not scored a run on UF in 31 consecutive innings.
Both starting pitchers were on in the early going. Florida’s Nate Brown pitched five scoreless innings with three hits allowed before he exited after the fifth.
Florida State’s Andrew Karp matched Brown for most of the night until the Gators managed a run off him in the seventh.
Florida had men in scoring position in the second and sixth innings, but could not advance a runner past second base either time.
The Seminoles had the first baserunner reach third base in the sixth inning, but freshman Andrew Baker got the Gators out of the jam after getting FSU cleanup hitter Cal Raleigh to groundout to third.
Baker continued to pitch well in the seventh, striking out all three batters he faced.
Florida finally broke the tie in the bottom of the seventh. India set the Gators up with a one-out double to right center. With two down, Mark Kolozsvary singled to shallow left and India came around to score to give UF a 1-0 lead.
After another scoreless inning from Baker in the eighth, freshman Tyler Dyson entered to close out the game in the ninth and retired the side in order.
Florida opens Southeastern Conference play this weekend with a trip to Auburn for a three-game series against the Tigers.
Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan Quotes…
“It was a good ‘ol pitchers’ duel. We had some young freshmen step up and grow up. Nate Brown, had a long talk with him yesterday, explained to him what exactly he needed to do to be successful and he went out and threw the ball great. Got through his pitch count, about 64 pitches, he probably could’ve went back out in the sixth but I wanted him to feel good about himself. Kirby came in and got an out and obviously Baker grew up a lot tonight. He kept his emotions in check and made some quality pitches, threw a ton of strikes. I had a decision to make there in the ninth because Baker was cruising, with Busby leading off then Aplin next and the switch hitter Raleigh, if you get a chance you want to turn Raleigh around right-handed. In thinking about it before the bottom of the ninth, this is hard, because this is an important game to a lot of people and you want to always beat one of your rivals, but the development of the pitching staff and our team, it was important to get Tyler Dyson out there. If we can get a guy like him at the end of the game, in a game like this, obviously it’s going to help us moving forward.
“I don’t care if it’s 1-0, or 10-9, they all count the same. But it was important for our young pitchers to go out there and do what they did. I’ve been saying all along, I think our young guys are starting to grow up and our bullpen is coming together. Our offense, it’ll come around. It’s just some guys are still caught in between fastballs and off speed. We saw a lot of off speed pitches tonight early in the count. Credit their pitcher Karp, he’s really good. But, focus on the positives, Christian Hicks had a nice base hit through the middle. India stayed on ball in right center field and hit a double. Mike Rivera stayed on the ball and hit a ball to the gap in right center field. Low and behold, a check swing wins the ball game. It’s crazy the game sometimes is unexplainable. On Saturday, Keenan Bell hits a ball off the top of the wall, a couple more inches and it’s a three-run homer and we’re not going to extra innings. Today we win the game on a check swing. It’s hard to explain sometimes. We’ll keep looking at this thing and get the offense going. Once this offense gets going the way its capable, which I know it is, with our pitching we’re going to be tough to beat. With what we’ve got starting wise on the weekend and what we’ve got developing in the bullpen, our main guys, we don’t have to score 5 or 6 to win every night. We just don’t, if our guys continue to do what they’re doing on the mound. I’m encouraged. I’d feel less encouraged if we didn’t pitch and play defense, I know that. I know the bats will come around. We’ll keep working at it, and when they do, like I said, we’re going to be really tough to beat.”