No. 15 Florida Baseball defeated Jacksonville 8-7 Tuesday night to improve their record to 26-11 overall. The Gators extended their winning streak to six games after grabbing 13 hits against Jacksonville’s 5 hits. Head coach O’Sullivan noted that the team looked very strong offensively.
“I thought they battled, fell behind early three-nothing and obviously Sterlin’s two-run homer in the top of the second got us right back in the ballgame,” O’Sullivan said. “I thought that was a huge turning point, especially early in the game.”
At the Plate
Sterlin Thompson got the runs going with a two-run home run in the second inning to put the score at 3-2. Florida was able to put themselves in the lead in the third when Colby Halter sent two runners across home plate with his opposite-field base hit to put the score at 4-3. Also in the third, Cory Acton added to the scoreboard when his base hit through the infield granted Josh Rivera access to home plate.
Jacksonville was able to level the scoreboard at 5-5 in the bottom of the fourth, but the Gators bats responded. Left-hand hitters Halter, Acton & Hickey all smashed opposite-field doubles into play to put the Gators back on top at 7-5. When Jacksonville tied up the match-up again at 7-7, the Gators got back to work at the plate. Kirby McMullen grounded to send Young home for the final scoring play.
On the Mound
Freshman LHP pitcher Timmy Manning started on the mound to make for this seventh appearance this season. Within the 2.2 innings he pitched, Manning notched five strikeouts. Coach O’Sullivan stated after the game that he could see Manning’s potential.
“I think what you see is typical of really talented freshmen. He shows flashes of putting together some really quality pitches, and then there’s other times where as young pitchers do, they have a four-pitch walk with two outs and nobody on and find themselves in a little bit of trouble,” O’Sullivan said. “But you certainly see those flashes of really putting this whole thing together.”
Following Manning, Ben Specht briefly entered the game but after two ER was changed out for Brandon Sprout who did not stay on the mound for too long either. Left-handed pitcher Trey Van Der Weide found himself on the mound in the seventh where he threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings to solidify the Gator win.
Trey Van Der Weide had it working in the 7th. ✔️
— Florida Gators Baseball (@GatorsBB) April 21, 2021
The Gators will hit the road again this weekend to match up with Auburn. First pitch of the three-game series begins Friday at 7 p.m.