The Florida baseball team will have an opportunity to sweep No. 20 Alabama Sunday afternoon after defeating the Crimson Tide Saturday 4-3. The Orange and Blue have managed to win their last four SEC series tying the school’s second longest conference win streak at 10 games.
Florida jumped ahead first in the game, scoring one run in the third. The Crimson Tide answered quickly scoring three runs in the next half inning.
Sophomore Aaron Rhodes did not last long in his fourth start, giving up all three of Alabama’s runs in the third. Rhodes threw only 2.1 innings, striking out two and walking two. A trio of freshman arms took control of the game on the hill for Florida after Rhodes’ start. A.J Puk was first in relief, going 2.2 strong innings, earning his fourth win of the season. However it was Puk’s bat that would prove to be the difference in the game. The left-handed freshman drove in the go ahead run in the sixth, shortly after a solo homer from Taylor Gushue that tied the game.
Young guns Dane Dunning and Kirby Snead also saw action on the mound, combining for four K’s while allowing just one hit between them. Ryan Harris earned the save for Florida after coming in in the ninth to close out the game.
Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan believes in his young arms.
“We have a lot of confidence in our freshmen pitchers and we let them know before the game today that they would be able to come in and have an impact. (A.J.) Puk did a really nice job through the middle innings getting us out of some jams. After a leadoff walk, (Dane) Dunning did a tremendous job of mixing all three of his pitches and kept Alabama off-balance. (Kirby) Snead did his thing to finish the eighth and Ryan (Harris) gave us a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth.”
The one run lead proved to be enough for the Gators, finishing off the Tide 4-3. You can listen to the final game of the series Sunday at 3 on the Gator IMG Sports Network where Steve Russell and Jeff Cardozo will get the call.