Gator Baseball Blanks FSU, Advances to College World Series

The Florida Gator baseball team (52-14) is headed to the College World Series for the fifth time in nine seasons, following a 7-0 rout of Florida State (41-22) in the deciding game of the Gainesville Super Regional on Monday night.

Dane Dunning earned the win for Florida, improving to 6-3 on the season after allowing four hits and zero runs in relief of starter A.J. Puk. Meanwhile, FSU’s Cole Sands dropped to 6-7 on the year after allowing two runs on five hits as the Seminole starter.

Puk was shaky early as he walked the first two batters he faced to open the game, but he worked out of the jam.  In the bottom of the inning, Dalton Guthrie scored on a wild pitch to give the Gators the early lead. By the end of the third inning, it was still 1-0 and Puk had five strikeouts and five walks.

Florida made it a 2-0 lead in the third on a long homer by Peter Alonso.  Alonso’s final postseason numbers were impressive—13-for-25, 10 runs, four homers, and 11 RBIs.  According to Gator junior outfielder Buddy Reed: it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Florida put on a show; he believes the Gators are ranked first in the country for a reason.

In the fourth inning, Puk would add his sixth strikeout but he also walked his sixth hitter and he was pulled from the game in favor of Dunning. In the bottom of the fourth, Florida State also made a pitching change as Jim Voyles came into the game for Sands. In the fifth, the Gators would blow the game open against the Seminole reliever.

Florida scored four runs in the inning, all scoring on a monster grand slam homer by JJ Schwarz who drove in Alonso, Reed, and Guthrie.  It was Schwarz’ first homer in 20 games and it was Florida’s first grand slam since Casey Turgeon’s in 2014.  Schwarz would add an RBI double to his big night in the sixth inning to complete the Gator scoring.

Gator coach Kevin O’Sullivan says he’s proud of his team for responding with two shutouts after being blanked by FSU in Game 1.

Looking forward, the Gators will now face Coastal Carolina (49-16) in their first game in the College World Series this coming Sunday night.

O’Sullivan says he is very familiar with the Chanticleers, who are fresh off of a 4-3 victory over LSU and a series win over the Tigers in Baton Rouge.

About Charlie Jordan

I'm a senior studying Political Science at the University of Florida. Multimedia Sports Reporter for ESPN Gainesville 95.3 and WUFT - Passionate about life, sports, and fitness.

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