The No. 1 Gator (29-3, 8-2) baseball team may not have been the center of attention in Gainesville Friday night. That distinction would go to the football team who had the Orange and Blue debut. But they still took care of business against No. 10 Mississippi State (21-9-1, 6-4) defeating them 8-2. Florida pushes their home winning streak to 29 games and overall winning streak to six games.
With another win against a ranked team, Florida moves to 9-1 this season against teams that are ranked and are now 7-1 against teams ranked in the top ten. The Gators have outscored both Texas A&M, who was number one at the time, and Mississippi State 32-13 the past two weekends.
Mississippi State came out strong in the first few frames scoring their only two runs in the second. Florida pitcher Logan Shore put runners on the corners with one out after giving up a run and hitting a batter. John Holland brought in the games first run with a groundout to short that scored the runner from third.
Shore came out in the second inning for a few minutes with what looked like an apparent injury. Shore would later return to the mound after going to the dugout. Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan says Shore had a blister on his foot that he fought through.
Offensively the Gators were shut down in the first few frames by Bulldogs starter Dakota Hudson. Hudson came into this game with a .92 ERA and showed why, setting down the first eight batters in order.
Freshman Jonathan India was the Gators first base runner as he reached on an error by the second baseman with two outs in the third. Dalton Guthrie followed that up with a single to put runners on the corner. Jonathan India scored on a wild pitch to move the Gators within one, 2-1.
In the fifth inning the Gators showed why they’re the top team in the country and one of the most dangerous offensively. Florida scored four runs and went through six batters before recording their first out, all against one of the SEC’s best pitchers in Hudson. India hit a double to score Vasquez and tie things up at 2-2. After Guthrie walked to load the bases, Reed singled to left giving Florida a 3-2 lead. Up next, JJ Schwarz singled through the right side scoring two putting Florida up 5-2. Liput gave the Gators their last run of the inning with a single to right making things 6-2. Florida had six hits in the inning matching their season high.
Kirby Snead replaced Shore (5.2 IP, 2 ER, 8 H, 4 K, 0 BB) in the sixth, and the bullpen did what its been doing all year and shut down Mississippi St. the rest of the game giving up no runs and just three hits. The Gators would score two insurance runs in the eighth inning pushing their lead to 8-2.
The Orange and Blue send Alex Faedo (6-0, 2.53) to the mound Saturday to face junior right-hander Austin Sexton (3-1, 2.98). First pitch from McKethan Stadium is set for 7 p.m. but you can tune into ESPN Gainesville 95.3 FM at 6:55 p.m. for live coverage.