The Gator baseball team brought an error-less defense to Tallahassee on Tuesday as they defeated their in-state rival Florida State Seminoles 4-3. With the win, Florida avoids being swept three games by the Seminoles.
Coaching third base for Florida, Gator head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said that his team refused to be swept by Florida State.
Gator sophomore lefty Bobby Poyner got his first start of the season and did well. He pitched four innings and gave up just one run. Poyner allowed an RBI double by junior Marcus Davis to give the Seminoles a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
The Gators made it a 1-1 ball game in the third inning when freshman Richie Martin hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded. Martin then hit a two-out double to drive in a run in the third inning that scored senior Cody Dent, giving the Gators a 2-1 lead.
O’Sullivan turned to the bullpen for the beginning of the fifth inning, bringing in Justin Shafer who promptly gave up a game-tying homer to D.J. Stewart. Looking to deliver another home run in the fifth, Davis got a hold of a Shafer pitch, but freshman Harrison Bader robbed him of a homer with a leaping catch at the left field wall.
The game of cat-and-mouse continued as the Seminoles took a 3-2 lead in the sixth. Freshman Jameis Winston hit a double off of reliever Ryan Harris that scored pinch-hitter Casey Smit. Florida snapped back in the seventh inning when Bader singled to right field, stole second, went to third on the throw for an error and scored on a passed ball.
The eighth was a key inning. Stephen McGee led off with a single for FSU, and lefty Daniel Gibson was brought into the game by Florida. After a fly out, he issued a walk and a wild pitch that moved McGee to third, but the runner on first base did not advance. That was important as Gibson induced a double play grounder to end the inning.
Leading off in the top of the ninth for Florida, Bader grounded to third, but a throwing error allowed him to reach second base. He then reached third when FSU pitcher Bobby Coles threw wildly on a pickoff attempt. The winning run was scored when sophomore Josh Tobias hit a sacrifice fly. Gibson retired the side in the ninth to earn a save a get the Gators a win.
O’Sullivan was relieved to see his team victorious.
Florida has now played 18 of the Top 25 opponents this year with an 8-10 record. However, the head coach knows more of those opponents are on the way.
Florida is now 16-18, and they’ll take on No. 10 South Carolina next for a three-game series at McKethan Stadium. The games will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 3 p.m. on Saturday. All of the action can be heard live on Country 103.7 The Gator.