In a game that saw a bench clearing incident and player ejections, the Florida baseball team beats top ranked Florida State for the second time this season, winning 4-1 Tuesday night at the Baseball Grounds in Jacksonville.
Florida improves to 16-9 on the year with the win and the Seminoles fall to 19-5 in a game witnessed by over 10,00 fans in Jacksonville.
Justin Shafer got the start on the mound for the Gators and he did well, throwing four shut out innings. Lefty Danny Young also threw well, pitching 3.2 innings of shutout ball to get the win as he improves to 3-0 on the year. Ryan Harris allowed a solo home run to Jose Brizuela in the ninth but otherwise allowed no other runs.
Florida opened the scoring in the first inning. The Gators got three walks from FSU starter Peter Miller and outfielder Braden Mattson drove in a run with a bloop single. There was no more damage when the next two hitters struck out.
The Gators got two runs in the sixth. Mattson singled, advanced to second on a passed ball and scored when Miller misplayed a sacrifice bunt by Shafer. After a sacrifice by pinch hitter Zack Powers, Shafer scored when reliever Gage Smith couldn’t cleanly field a bunt by John Sternagel. Florida scored an insurance run in the eighth on an RBI hit by Sternagel.
The fireworks came in the eighth inning. FSU’s D.J. Stewart hit a slow roller down the first base line that Young went to field; he looked up without the ball and Stewart ran him over. Powers, playing first base, immediately jumped in Stewart’s face and Stewart pushed Powers, which emptied both benches. Powers, Young and Stewart were ejected.
In the bottom of the eighth, Florida’s Justin Shafer was ejected when he scored the run because after sliding in at home safely, he appeared as he got up to kick at FSU catcher Danny De La Calle. Order was quickly restored and benches did not empty.
Florida has to play FSU in Tallahassee in April.
The Gators will next play at home in a three game series against LSU starting Friday.