The second ranked Florida baseball team (22-5) has now defeated the Florida State Seminoles (20-6) on seven consecutive occasions following a 1-0 win in Jacksonville Tuesday night. Jack Leftwich, Jordan Butler and Michael Byrne each put forth a stellar performance on the mound to combine for the shutout. Kevin O’Sullivan’s Gators have outscored the Seminoles 81-30 over the course of their last 13 match ups.
Freshman Jack Leftwich was not impressive earlier this season during his first go-around against Florida State. Only two weeks ago he gave up two earned runs and didn’t finish an inning. On Tuesday, he redeemed himself.
Leftwich surrendered one hit, one walk and struck out five Seminoles over five innings of work in round two. He picked up the win, his third of the year, in what was his longest outing of the season to date. Additionally, Leftwich lowered his ERA by over a full run, from 5.40 to 4.24.
The Gators picked up the only run of the game in the fourth inning on an Austin Langworthy RBI single that scored Wil Dalton. Aside from that blemish, FSU starter Andrew Karp was sharp giving up just the one run. He allowed four hits, two walks and struck out seven Gators over eight innings.
This is not Karp’s first time taking a loss despite finding success against Florida’s lineup. In 2017, he gave up only one run over seven innings and the Gators won that game 1-0 as well.
After Leftwich exited the game, fellow freshman Jordan Butler took over in relief. He, too, was not impressive when he got his first crack at FSU earlier this season. In the first go-around, the Tampa native lasted just 2.2 innings before exiting. Tuesday was a different story. Butler issued one walk while he worked scoreless sixth and seventh innings.
Feel the Byrne
Kevin O’Sullivan then turned to closer Michael Byrne, who continues to rise to the occasion in pressure situations. After completing a 1-2-3 eighth inning, the preseason first team All-American got himself into a jam in the ninth. He gave up two hits, which put FSU runners on the corners with one out. A strikeout and a groundout gave Byrne his sixth save of the season. The save was also the 25th of his career tying him with John Pricher (1988-92) for first on the Gators’ all-time saves list.
— Gators Baseball (@GatorsBB) March 28, 2018
The Gators will host No. 7 Vanderbilt in a three-game SEC series beginning Friday night at McKethan Stadium. Friday’s game begins at 6:30 p.m., while Saturday and Sunday’s games will both start at noon.