SEC Baseball
Gators vs FAMU Rattlers 17-7 Photo by Bryce Mitchell

Gators Baseball Defeats UNF

Behind a strong four innings from Yoel Tejeda Jr. on the mound and a three-run eighth inning, the fourth-ranked Florida Gators baseball team on Tuesday night found themselves back in the win column with a 6-2 win over North Florida at Condron Family Ballpark.

Tejeda Jr. earned his second win of the season with four scoreless innings pitched and four strikeouts while giving up five hits.

“I thought Yoel threw the ball probably as good as he had all year long,” Gator head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “I don’t know how many ground balls he got, but he got a really good angle on his fastball.”

Meanwhile, Luke Heyman (2-for-4) and BT Riopelle (1-for-3) each plated two scores with Heyman hitting his eighth home run of the season to give the Gators a 2-0 lead.

Early runs lead to early lead

The Gators plated one run in each of the first three innings.

Wyatt Langford doubled in his first at-bat of the day, and Josh Rivera brought him home with a single two batters later.Β Heyman began the second inning with a solo home run while facing an 0-2 count.

Jac Caglianone led off the third inning what what looked like a solo home run, but video review revealed the ball never left the yard and actually got stuck in the fence.Β He was rewarded a double and advanced to third off a groundout by Rivera. Riopelle fouled out to the shortstop, which gave enough time for Caglianone to tag up and score.

Pitching dominates middle innings

After back-t0-back-to-back innings with a run scored, the Gator offense faltered after UNF made a pitching change. Tony Roca took the mound in relief of starter Avery Love and dominated the Florida bats. From the fourth inning through the seventh inning, Roca retired 12 of his 13 batters faced with one walk and four strikeouts.

The Ospreys were able to put two runs on the board in the fifth inning. Nick Ficarrotta took the mound and struggled quickly. Aidan Sweatt singled and stole second. Austin Brinling plated Sweatt with a double and advanced to third on a throwing error. A RBI single by Jakob Runnels put the second run on the board.

Ficarrotta dominated the rest of the way with two strikeouts to end the fifth, two more in the sixth and another batter retired in the seventh. He gave up no hits after Runnels’ single.

Philip Abner replaced Ficarrotta in the seventh and retired his first three batters faced. With one out, back-to-back singles in the eighth inning ended his night, and Ryan Slater forced back-to-back outs to end the inning.

“We played good defense for the most part,” O’Sullivan said. “It was good to see Philip [Abner] and Ryan [Slater] get back out there, too.”

Gators seal the win

In need of insurance runs, clutch bats came to play for the Gators in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Langford began the frame with a single, and Rivera walked two batters later. Riopelle plated his second run of the game with a single to right field.

In the next at-bat, Heyman plated his second run of the evening with a single of his own to score Rivera. Colby Halter added a sacrifice fly to score Riopelle and give the Gators a 6-2 lead.

After recording the final two outs in the eighth inning, Slater returned the mound for the ninth and struck out his first batter faced. A single, passed ball, ground out and walk put runners on the corners with two outs. Slater earned the save after a fly out caught by Michael Robertson near the centerfield fence ended the game.

Up next

The Gators return to Condron Family Ballpark on Friday night for the start of a three-game series against Missouri. Game one begins at 7 p.m. with radio coverage on WRUF.

About Cam Parker

Cam is a fourth-year broadcast journalism sports and media major at the University of Florida. In addition to writing and recording radio trendings for WRUF, Cam covers North Florida HS football for The Prep Zone and Mainstreet Daily News and UF football and basketball for Inside the Gators.

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