Kirby McMullen photo by Tim Casey / UAA Communications

Gators get 11 inning win over Stetson

An unlikely hero emerged in the 11th inning on Tuesday night. Freshman Kirby McMullen scored the winning run and earned the win on the mound as Florida beat Stetson 9-8 at Melching Field in DeLand.


Florida (14-8) won on the road for the first time this season and tied a season high with 13 hits in the win over Stetson (8-15).

JJ Schwarz went 3-for-6 on the night with a pair of RBI. Dalton Guthrie, Jonathan India and Mike Rivera each had a pair of hits in the game.

The home team opened the scoring in the first inning with a run on three hits. Mike Spooner drew a two-out walk and came around to score on Austin Bogart’s single to right field to give Stetson a 1-0 lead.

Florida took the lead in the fifth with three-straight, two-out singles. Mike Rivera got the rally started with a single and Deacon Liput followed with a four-pitch walk to set the Gators up with a scoring opportunity.

After Andrew Baker struck out, Dalton Guthrie walked to load the bases.

Schwarz, hitting just .205 entering the game, came up huge with a two-run single to give Florida a 2-1 lead. Jonathan India and Nelson Maldonado followed with back-to-back singles to make it 4-1.

The Hatters got a run back in the bottom of the fifth with three-straight singles, including an RBI single from Mike Spooner to cut the Gators lead to two.

Stetson tied the game in the bottom of the eighth with a one-out rally that brought home two runs. A double to deep center by Bogart scored the first run and Kirk Sidwell’s RBI single tied the game at 4-4.

The Gators retook the lead in the 10th after Florida loaded the bases with no outs. Mark Kolozsvary, a week after the game-winning hit against Florida State, came through again with a two-run single to give UF a 6-4 lead.

Rivera added to the lead with a two-run single to left field, giving the Gators some insurance heading to the bottom of the 10th.

Stetson led off the bottom of the inning with three straight hits to get a run back before UF recorded the first out. The Hatters got another run on a single from leadoff man Jacob Koss that forced another pitching change.

Andrew Baker, who started the game in center field, took the mound and picked up a strikeout for the second out of the inning, but Stetson was not done battling.

Back-to-back singles from Mike Spooner and Jack Gonzalez tied the game at eight apiece. Freshman Kirby McMullen came in and got the final out of the inning to send it to the 11th.

McMullen, making his first plate appearance of the year, led off the 11th inning with a walk. Schwarz followed with his third hit of the night.

India sacrificed the runners over and Stetson intentionally walked Blake Reese to set up Christian Hicks with the bases loaded and one out.

Hicks hit a high chopper to first, just enough to get the winning run home from third.

McMullen returned to the mound and set the Hatters down in order for his second win of the season.

Florida returns to McKethan Stadium this weekend to host a three-game series against No. 4 LSU beginning Friday at 7 p.m. All three games will air on TV (Friday & Sunday on SEC Network; Saturday on ESPN2).

The series will also air live on WatchESPN and on the Gators IMG Sports Network.

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