Mike Rivera via Andrés Leiva / UAA Communications

Rivera’s homer helps Gators beat FSU 4-1

Florida catcher Mike Rivera launched a three-run home run in the first inning and the Gators’ pitching staff shut down Florida State again in a 4-1 win on Tuesday night in the Fresh from Florida Sunshine Showdown.

Florida (17-9, 2-4 SEC) jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first and limited Florida State (18-8, 6-3 ACC) to just one run on five hits.

Freshman right-hander Garrett Milchin was excellent in his first career start on the mound. He pitched 4.1 scoreless innings with just two hits allowed.

Florida State’s lone run came in the sixth inning and ended a scoreless streak of 36 innings for the Seminoles against the Gators’ pitching staff.

Florida struck immediately with four runs on four hits in the opening frame. Deacon Liput led off the game with a walk and Dalton Guthrie singled to set up runners on the corners. JJ Schwarz opened the scoring with a RBI single to score Liput from third.

Rivera followed with his first home run of the season, a three-run shot onto the grass berm in left field to make it 4-0. Rivera also homered in last year’s meeting against the Seminoles in Jacksonville.

Florida State finally got on the board in the sixth after a one-out double from Quincy Nieporte set the Seminoles up in scoring position. Rhett Aplin’s RBI single got FSU on the board.

Sophomore Michael Byrne entered the game in the sixth inning and pitched 3.2 scoreless innings to pick up his second save of the season. Byrne allowed just one baserunner, retiring the first nine batters he faced before a one-out single in the ninth.

Florida continues Southeastern Conference play this weekend with a three-game series at Missouri. All three games will air on SEC Network+ and the Gators IMG Sports Network.

Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan Quotes…

“We historically haven’t played great up here, even with some really good clubs. It was good to get on the board in the first. Mike’s obviously been seeing the ball well and it carried into today. We had an approach for the game and for the first few innings, we stayed with it, but then we kind of drifted away from it again.

“Our pitching was really good. I’ve been looking at some things since Sunday’s game, obviously that was a really disappointing way to lose. We’ve got certain guys that have ‘stuff’ and traditionally you’re trying to protect these young freshmen and put them in positions to be successful so they can build on it. We really haven’t been able to do that early in the year because we weren’t swinging the bats very well. We looked at it. Garrett’s got a good arm. [Tyler] Dyson has a good arm. Nate Brown’s got a good arm. Andrew Baker’s got a good arm. Byrne’s a veteran. We’re just going to start going with guys that have good stuff and hopefully they can figure it out.

“We’ve given a lot of guys a lot of different opportunities. Just like offensively, we’re trying to settle in on a lineup, there’s still a couple guys we need to figure out and get them going, but pitching-wise I’m going to go with stuff. Hopefully those guys will continue to get better and build on their experiences and performances.”

 

On the pitching staff’s scoreless streak against Florida State:

“Some things you just can’t explain. Florida State’s got a very good team. They’re very offensive, I think we’ve just pitched really well. I don’t think there’s really one thing I could put my finger on to explain it. We got a great start from Garrett tonight. His sinker was really good. He knows who he is. He pitches at 88-92 and doesn’t try to overthrow. He’s got a good breaking ball and changeup. And Michael Byrne was good. We asked him to do some different things on the mound tonight. He pitched differently, probably had been relying on his slider too much. We need to flip the switch there, the scouting report. I think he did a really good job tonight. I think the pitching in general was just outstanding.”

 


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