Gator baseball evens series with Hurricanes
Published: Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 11:48 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 11:48 p.m.
Sophomore Taylor Gushue's bases-loaded, two-run single in the bottom of the eighth erased a 3-2 Miami lead and Florida went on to defeat Miami, 6-4, Saturday night before a chilled McKethan Stadium crowd of 3,899, ending a six-game losing streak while handing the No. 21 Hurricanes their first defeat of the season.
Miami at Florida, 1 p.m., 103.7 FM
“I felt relaxed and I didn't try to do too much,” Gushue said. “I just tried to put a good swing on the ball, and that's what happened.”
“We've been looking for a guy to step up and swing the bat all year long,” UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. “That was a big one.”
UF freshman starter Tucker Simpson was able to work out of jams in each of the first three innings, as the Hurricanes left five men on base, including three in scoring position, but he ran out of luck in the top of the fourth when Miami (10-1) used a one-out infield hit and stolen base by Michael Broad and a two-out, bloop RBI single off the bat of Brandon Lopez to take a 1-0 lead.
The Gators (4-7) answered in the fourth, with some help.
Sophomore third baseman Zack Powers stroked a one-out single to left and ended up at third moments later when Miami starter Javi Salas threw wildly to first on an attempted pickoff.
Gushue, who was 2-for-3 on the night and drove in three runs, followed with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Powers to tie things at 1-all and end a career-high 14 2/3-inning scoreless streak for Salas.
Simpson, however, could not protect the lead.
Miami's Alex Hernandez led off the fifth inning with a single, and Chantz Mack followed with a well-placed bunt to put two men on with no outs.
Clean-up batter David Thompson then laid down a sacrifice bunt and Powers threw wildly to first, allowing Hernandez to score with the go-ahead run and Mack to reach third.
A passed ball on Gushue allowed Mack to score one pitch later and make it 3-1, and after fanning Miami's Brad Fieger for his career-high sixth strikeout, Simpson was pulled for sophomore reliever Ryan Harris, who threw 3 1/3 innings of one-hit, shutout ball to keep the 'Canes at bay.
“I think what kind of gets lost is that Ryan Harris did a really nice job,” O'Sullivan said.
Sophomore second baseman Casey Turgeon led off the UF sixth with a home run into the Miami bullpen in right-center to cut the 'Canes led to 3-2.
Salas went six innings before giving way to lefty reliever A. J. Salcines.
Salcines (2-1), who took the loss, gave up a lead-off walk to Turgeon to lead off the eighth, and Justin Shafer followed with a double to left-center.
Salcines then hit Powers to load the bases with nobody out. Gushue made him pay with his long two-run single.
Reliever Adam Sargent took over for Salcines and proceeded to wild pitch two more runs across the plate before the inning ended.
Miami added a run off UF closer and winner Johnny Magliozzi (1-0) on back-to-back, two-out doubles by Mack and Thompson before he retired Fieger on a fly ball to center to end the game.
UF freshman shortstop Richie Martin extended his team-high hitting streak to nine games.
The teams will meet in the three-game series finale today at 1 p.m.