After falling short of victory Friday and Saturday night, the Florida baseball team defeated the Miami Hurricanes on the road Sunday afternoon 6-4. The Gators now improve to 5-3 on the season, with a 3-2 record against in state teams.
It took an array of Florida arms to get the win Sunday afternoon. Florida used seven pitchers, led by starter Karsten Whitson. Whitson went three full innings, allowing two runs on three hits. Whitson struck out one batter and walked one as well.
Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan knows there is room for Whitson to improve.
“Every time he goes out there he needs to learn something new and obviously, he needs to be good for us to be good. And he will. But, to expect him to come out and throw seven shutout innings in his second start after missing almost two years is unrealistic, so we’ll build on that and get better for the next outing.”
Freshman AJ Puk was the first reliever in the game for the Gators and despite pitching only a third of an inning, he picked up his first collegiate win.
Offensively, it didn’t take long for the Florida’s bats to settle in against Miami’s formally undefeated starter Andrew Suarez. The Gators scored four runs in the top of the first inning on six hits that included Taylor Gushue’s team high ninth RBI on the season coming from a single, a one out RBI triple from Peter Alonso, a run scoring double by Braden Mattson and an RBI hit by Ryan Larson.
Florida scored what proved to be its final runs in the fourth inning. Third baseman John Sternagel reached home for the first time this season on a ground out to second base from Casey Turgeon. Buddy Reed extended the lead to 6-2 when he scored on an error by Miami’s catcher Garrett Kennedy on a dropped third strike.
Miami added two more runs in the fifth, but it wasn’t enough, as the Hurricanes were blanked the rest of the game. It got scary in the Miami ninth, when they had two on with only one out but the rally was snuffed out with a save going to reliever Eric Hanhold.
Florida now looks ahead to a home game this Thursday as they take on Florida Gulf Coast (5-3).