Florida State's James Tibbs III makes it safely back to first base after a run down trying to steal second base against Florida first baseman Jac Caglianone during the eighth inning Tuesday at 121 Financial Ballpark in Jacksonville. Florida State defeated Florida 14-3. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

Florida State Baseball routs Florida, 14-3

The No. 6 Florida Gators baseball team has been up-and-down coming into Tuesday’s game against No. 17 Florida State.

The Gators in recent weeks lost in their midweek games, but would end up winning the weekend series. This trend continued against their state rivals.

The Seminoles defeated the Gators 14-3 in their annual matchup at 121 Financial Ballpark in Jacksonville to win the series for the first time since 2015. FSU (20-3) also downed UF 12-8 in Gainesville earlier this month. The teams finish the series April 9 in Tallahassee.

Florida falls to 14-10 and is 3-5 in midweek games. It is the same issues that have plagued Florida this season. Starting pitching unable to finish the fourth inning and bats becoming cold are the two main reasons the Gators have performed poorly in non-weekend games.

The Pitching

Alex Philpott (2-2) was greeted with four straight Seminole base hits to open the game and gave FSU a 3-0 lead. Philpott settled in with a quick second and third inning, facing just seven batters. But the freshman arm had more issues in the fourth inning.

A Seminole solo homer made it Philpott’s fourth earned run. A single immediately after caused UF coach Kevin O’Sullivan to pull Philpott for Ryan Slater.

Slater made it a two-out inning on a groundout, but the runner advanced to second. A single later, Philpott’s fifth and final earned run came around to score. In the fifth inning, Slater allowed his only run on a double, bringing in a Seminole Slater hit a batter before. Slater was pulled for Blake Purnell.

The junior tossed just six pitches and faced one batter. Purnell got the out and was pulled for Frank Menendez, who walked a batter early in the sixth and let him in on a double. But Menendez then allowed another run on a single. Through six innings, Gator pitchers allowed eight runs on 11 hits.

The icing on a dominant performance by FSU occurred in the eighth inning. With Grayson Smith pitching for Florida, FSU had the bases loaded with one out. A Drew Faurot grand slam home run made the game out of reach and put the run rule in effect. The Seminoles finished the night scoring 14 runs off 15 hits in eight innings.

The UF pitchers finished with a season-low three strikeouts. A surprising number considering the Gators strike out roughly 11 batters per game. The 15 hits allowed also come in as a season high.

The Batting

The Gator batters had just three hits. Two of those hits came when Jac Caglianone came up to bat. The three runs Florida scored all came in the first inning when the Gators were down three early.

A Colby Shelton walk and Ty Evans single brought up Caglianone. Caglianone hit a ball just under the left-field foul poll. A ball that would normally be an out at Condron Family Ballpark sneaked through to tie the game in the first inning.

The other UF hit came in the third on a Caglianone double. Caglianone finished 2-for-3, while the rest of the Gators hit a combined 1-for-24.

Florida’s three hits are a season low and the 15 strikeouts are one short of tying the total in last Friday’s loss against LSU.

Up Next

Florida will host No. 21 Mississippi State starting Friday. The usual weekend rotation of Cade Fisher, Liam Peterson and Caglianone is expected to be in play for the Gators. The first pitch for Friday’s game is at 6:30 p.m.

About Nick VanZandt

Nick VanZandt is a senior journalism student at the University of Florida and this is his third semester working for WRUF.

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