The Florida baseball team picked up its first road win of the season after beating the Stetson Hatters 9-8 Tuesday night in Deland. The Gators (14-8) outlasted the Hatters (8-15) in 11 innings but the win was far from easy. Florida ran out of position players in the contest and pitcher Kirby McMullen, who got the win in relief for the Gators, even got to get in a plate appearance.F
It was Stetson that jumped on the board in the first inning off of Florida starter Nate Brown. With two outs, Mike Spooner found his way on base off of a walk and he scored after back to back singles, the last by Austin Bogart, to put the Hatters up 1-0. The score stayed that way until the fifth inning when the Gators scored four runs.
With one out, Mike Rivera singled, Deacon Liput walked but Andrew Baker struck out. With two outs, Dalton Guthrie walked to load the bases and JJ Schwarz opened up the scoring for the Gators with a two run single. Hits by Jonathan India and Nelson Maldonado scored two more, putting the team up 4-1.
Stetson earned one back in the bottom half of the inning after three straight singles and they tied the game in the eighth; a two-bagger by Bogart scoring one and an RBI from Kirk Sidwell tied the score at 4-4.
Gators Pull Away But Couldn’t Make It Last
The game went into extra innings and the Gators immediately threw up another four spot in the 10th inning. Florida loaded the bases with no outs and pinch hitter Mark Kolozsvary knocked a two run single and Rivera added on a pair of insurance runs with a two-run single to left field.
But a four run lead was not enough as Stetson incredibly rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the inning. Two singles and a Jorge Arenas double scored a run and Jacob Koos drove in a run with a base hit and with two outs, Mike Spooner’s RBI single and designated hitter Jack Gonzalez’s single tied the game.
Freshman Kirby McMullen came in on relief to finally retire the side. But he also had to lead off the 11th inning because Florida had lost the designated hitter position during the course of changes made in the game defensively and on the mound and he drew a leadoff walk. Schwarz followed up with his third hit of the night and a Jonathan India sacrifice bunt moved the runners up a base.
Blake Reese was intentionally walked to load the bases and Stetson brought in Brooks Wilson to pitch, a starter on most occasions for the team. Christian Hicks hit a chopper in the infield but it was enough to put what would be the winning run on the board. That was all the Gators could muster as Wilson struck out Ryan Larson on a looker.
McMullen was a powerhouse for the Gators to end the game, setting the Hatters down in order with the first two batters heading back to the dugout after striking out. He got the win, moving his record to 2-0 for the season.
— Jordan McPherson (@J_McPherson1126) March 22, 2017
The Gators will be back home this weekend at McKethan Stadium to host a three-game series against fourth ranked LSU beginning Friday at 7 p.m. All three games will air on TV (Friday & Sunday on SEC Network; Saturday on ESPN2) and you can catch all the action on radio on Country 103-7 The Gator.