With the game tied at 3-3 and Chris Westervelt at first base in the fifth, Andy Wilson hit the first pitch into the bleachers in left field to give Stetson a 5-3 lead. Westervelt reached base on a single. That was all Stetson needed as the Hatters added a run in the seventh and held off a late Gator rally to register the win.
Three Stetson pitchers held Florida to seven hits on the evening. Blair (3-1) went 6.0 innings and allowed five hits, three runs (all three earned) and struck out three batters for the win. Jack Collins relieved Blair in the seventh and pitched 2.2 innings and gave up two hits and Roger Lincoln registered the final out for his fourth save of the year.
"You have to give Stetson an awful lot of credit," Florida head coach Pat McMahon said. "They pitched very well. We found a way to battle through some things but just couldn't bunch enough hits together. That's been very frustrating for us. We've just got to find a way to work through it."
Trailing 3-1, Stetson tied the game at 3-3 with two runs in the fourth inning on Brian Snyder's walk, a Bryan Zenchyk double, Lee Bagley ground out RBI and Josh Laws' bloop RBI single. The Hatters took the lead at 5-3 on Wilson's two-run homer. Stetson made it 6-3 with a single run in the seventh when Laws led off with a triple to right center field and scored on Rusty Beale's sacrifice fly.
Florida went up 2-0 in the bottom of the second inning when Ryan Shealy drew a leadoff walk, advanced to third base on Mario Garza's double. Both runners scored on consecutive sacrifice flies by Aaron Davidson and Matt Goss respectively. Stetson made it 2-1 when Josh Laws launched a shot off the scoreboard in right field for a solo home run. But Mario Garza's RBI line drive double down the right field line drove in Aaron Sobieraj in the third inning and made it 3-1 Florida.
Florida had a chance in the bottom of the ninth inning as it put two runners first (Brian Rose single) and second base (Mark Kiger walk) respectively with two outs. Stetson reliever Roger Lincoln got pinch hitter David Klebonis (9-19 in his career as a pinch hitter) to fly out to deep left field to end the game.
Josh Laws led Stetson with a 3-4, two RBI, two run game. He hit a solo home run in the third, RBI single in the fifth and triple in the seventh. Westervelt added a 3-5 day, Wilson went 2-5 with two RBI and his fifth inning homer and Bryan Zenchyk added two hits.
Florida was led at the plate by Pat Osborn's 3-4 day. Mario Garza and Brian Rose each collected two hits apiece.
Gator reliever Tommy Boss (0-1) took the loss, the first of his Gator career after giving up two hits, two runs in 2.0 innings. Starter Mike Pete pitched the first four innings and allowed six hits and three runs.
Prior to the ballgame, Florida honored the stadium's namesake Alfred A. McKethan with a moment of silence. A Brooksville, Fla native, McKethan, 93, passed away last Sunday. For the rest of the season the Gator baseball team will be wearing his initials- A.A.M.- on their jerseys and the stadium's scoreboard will display his initials.
Florida is back in SEC action this weekend against Tennessee in Knoxville for a three-game weekend series. Game times in Knoxville are 7 p.m. on Friday, 5 p.m. on Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
*Florida head coach Pat McMahon is a 1976 graduate of Stetson University. He played two years at the DeLand school (1974-75) where he ranked third all-time in season ERA (1.64 in 1974) and earned two outstanding effort awards. Stetson was also the place where McMahon got his first experience in coaching as a student-athlete when his head coach Jim Ward was sidelined with sickness.
*Florida was held under 10 hits for just the seventh time this season and under four runs for just the eighth time this season.
*Florida is now on a five-game losing streak, its longest losing streak since UF closed out the 1999 season (May 9-May 15).
*Stetson has now defeated Florida in four of the last five games in the series.
*Florida is now 8-9 vs. nationally ranked teams on the season.