After a devastating season-opening series loss to the Liberty Flames, the Florida Gator baseball team (2-2) bounced back Tuesday night with an 8-1 win over the Stetson Hatters (2-2). The Gators are off to a strong start in the first of five match ups this week.
Early Offensive Start
It was a fiery start for the Gators with Florida’s batters explosive. Colby Halter got the Gators started with a single to right field followed by a walk to Jud Fabian. Sterlin Thompson then singled to center field, allowing Halter to score the first run of the contest. The Gators weren’t finished yet. Wyatt Langford walked, leaving the bases loaded for the Gators. Although Josh Rivera grounded into a double play, Fabian scored to make it a 2-0 game.
With a scoreless second inning for both teams, the Gators scored again twice in the third on a long home run over the right field wall by Sterlin Thompson and an RBI double by Tucker Talbott who had four hits in his collegiate debut.
The bottom of the third was the first and only time Stetson would score. With Florida pitcher Karl Hartman on the mound after taking over for Timmy Manning following the first, Stetson’s Cameron Hill would score to make it a 4-1 when he scored on a wild pitch. Nick Ficarrotta would relieve Hartman and he was lights out, pitching four and two-thirds innings of shutout ball, allowing only one hit while striking out six.
Florida Plays Lights Out
Stetson continued to struggle in containing the Gators. In the fourth, Jud Fabian doubled and scored on a hit by Talbott and Talbott drove in another run in the fifth with a base hit. Florida’s lead was now 5-1 after five innings.
The sixth inning was scoreless for both teams but the Gators would strike again in the seventh.
Josh Rivera singled, his third hit of the night and Talbott again got a hit setting the stage for a Deric Fabian RBI single. On the mound, Blake Purnell and Brandon Neely relieved Ficarrotta and held the Hatters scoreless as the Gators cruised to the win.
Stats and Upcoming
Overall, Florida scored eight runs on 14 hits with no errors compared to Stetson’s one run on three hits with one error. Florida’s combined pitching efforts yielded eight total strikeouts on the night.
Thompson was the hitting star of the game going three for five on the night including three RBI’s and was a triple short of hitting for the cycle. Tucker Talbott had four hits and Josh Rivera chipped in with two of his own as well.
The Gators head back to Gainesville for their second game of the week against North Florida Wednesday at 7 p.m.