The No. 17 Miami Hurricanes clinched the series over No. 20 Florida Gators Saturday night with a three-run Miami home run in sixth to break a 2-2 tie, defeating the Gators 5-2.
Miami put the first runs on the board, with solo runs in the third and fourth innings, but Florida responded with one run in the fifth and sixth. Braden Mattson started the fifth with a leadoff double to left-center, followed by a single from Justin Shafer, and later a sac fly by Ryan Larson would cut the lead to 2-1. The Gators would pick up their only other run in the sixth with a single from Taylor Gushue, a passed ball, two walks, and an RBI single from Shafer. Florida would end the inning with the bases loaded.
It wasn’t long before Miami freshman designated hitter Zack Collins responded with a three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth, to give the Canes a 5-2 edge.
The Gators had a lost opportunity in the fourth inning when sophomore Richie Martin and junior Casey Turgeon bunted for infield singles to start off the inning. Peter Alonso was able to advance the runners to scoring position, but Martin was picked off at third to end the inning.
Gator junior Justin Shafer says the Gators need to take advantage of offensive situations.
“We just have to do better when we have runners on base. We had runners on first and second with no outs and we didn’t get a run out of it. We just have to do a better job of scoring runs,” explained Shafer.
Freshman righty Brett Morales started on the mound for the Gators, going a career-best four innings with two strikeouts.
Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan would turn to bullpen in the last two innings, using four additional arms in sophomore Jay Carmichael and freshmen Frank Rubio, Tyler Deel, and Dane Dunning.
Brad Radziewski started on the mound for Miami and would retire after 5.2 innings, six strikeouts and 92 pitches.
O’Sullivan says his team fought until the end.
“I thought we fought to the last out. Obviously, the three-run homer was a huge momentum swing for Miami, but I thought we fought to the end tonight. You have to give [UM’s Zack] Collins credit tonight. He put a good swing on the ball. Frank [Rubio] came out there with a 2-0 count and a runner on first and I thought he did a really nice job getting out of that inning. Tyler Deel came in with runners on and I thought he did a nice job, too. Both freshmen threw the ball really well. We just need to get deeper into the ballgame with our starters,” O’Sullivan said.
The Hurricanes mark their first series win over Florida since 2009.
The Orange and Blue hope to avoid being swept in the series finale Sunday, with the first pitch set for 1 p.m. Catch live coverage of the game on 103.7 The Gator beginning at 12:55.