The fifth ranked Florida Gator baseball team defeated the Stetson Hatters 9-6 Tuesday night in a mid-week match-up. The Gators move to 21-5 (3-3 SEC) on the season, while Stetson falls to 14-12 this year.
The Gators jumped out to an early lead in this one tacking on four runs in the first inning. Junior Richie Martin scored the game’s first run after senior Josh Tobias singled through the right side. Next up Sophomore Buddy Reed extended his career best 13 game hitting streak by doubling down the right field line to score Harrison Bader. A pair of freshmen would give the Gators two more runs, as JJ Schwarz hit a fielder’s choice to score Tobias and Mike Rivera singled to score Reed.
Stetson would add a run of its own in the bottom of the first; Patrick Mazeika got an RBI on a groundout after Vance Vizcaino hit a ball to left field that Harrison Bader lost in the sun resulting in a triple.
Alex Faedo got his second start of the season and had a strong outing for Florida. Despite giving a run in the first inning, Faedo shut down the Hatters, pitching a career high five innings while giving up only a run on two hits while striking out three batters.
Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan says he sees Faedo heading in the right direction.
“That was a really good start; his pitch count was 60 because we still want to use him towards the back end of the weekend. That’s as good as anybody can throw. If we had glasses on in left field (in the bottom of the first), he probably doesn’t give up a run. Not a great 0-2 pitch, so we probably need to make a better pitch at 0-2. You couldn’t ask any more of him, it was a really good start. Definitely a big step in the right direction.”
The rest of the game would not go as smoothly for the Gators though as the Hatters would score five runs in the sixth inning off relievers Frank Rubio and Danny Young, to take the lead 6-5. The Orange and Blue would then go on to mount its sixth come-from-behind victory this season with a three-run eighth inning.
Richie Martin would start the two out rally with a walk. After stealing second, Harrison Bader plated Martin with a single to tie the game at 6-6. Senior Josh Tobias came to the plate next giving the Gators the 8-6 lead with a two-run home run to right center field; his first career home run as a lefty. Florida would add an insurance run in the top of the ninth on a Ryan Larson RBI groundout that scored pinch runner Jason Lombardozzi.
Kevin O’Sullivan liked how his team fought in this game.
“Richie had a good at-bat to get on (in the eighth). We stole there to get him in scoring position and Bader hit a 3-2 breaking ball; fortunately for us it was up in the strike zone. Then Tobias comes up and hits the homer. We talk about it and as long as we’re in the dugout we have a chance to score. We did a really nice job. We probably needed a game like this.”
Freshman Logan Browning picked up his first win of the season, on the mound while junior Taylor Lewis picked up his sixth save of the season.
The Gators return home next for an SEC series against Alabama starting on Thursday; you can catch the game live on ESPN 850 WRUF at 6:55 pm.