Perfect 'Noles take game at UF
Published: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 10:12 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 10:12 p.m.
Undefeated Florida State, off to its best start since 2007, stayed perfect Tuesday with a 4-1 win over Florida before a McKethan Stadium crowd of 4,709, the second-largest of the season.
The loss was the third in the last four games for the Gators (8-10).
“It was a tough loss,” said freshman center fielder Harrison Bader, who had two of UF's five hits. “But at the same time, we're doing everything we can.”
For the fourth straight game, the young Gators fell behind before having a chance to bat as the Seminoles (16-0) plated a run in the top of the first on a two-out, RBI double by catcher Stephen McGee off freshman starter Danny Young.
Young, a left-hander from Boca Raton who was making his first career start, stranded McGee at second by striking out D.J. Stewart.
After retiring FSU in order in the second, Young worked out of trouble in the third but could not get out of the fourth after allowing a lead-off single to Stewart and walking John Nogowski on a 3-2 pitch.
After a sacrifice bunt by Jose Brizuela, Young was replaced by sophomore Ryan Harris, who proceeded to give up a two-run single to No. 8 hitter Giovanni Alfonzo on an 0-2 pitch that made it 3-0, FSU.
“Obviously we didn't do a very good job out of the pen,” UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. “We had two inherited runners, we get into an 0-2 count and runners on second and third with first base open and we make a mistake.”
FSU starter Luke Weaver, meanwhile, was in control early, retiring nine of the first 10 batters he faced before having his career-high 16 2/3-inning scoreless streak ended in the fourth when he dropped a throw from first baseman Nogowski on what should have been the last out of the inning, allowing Bader, who had singled to lead off the inning, to score from third with an unearned run.
FSU extended its lead to 4-1 in the sixth, chasing Harris, who was pulled after hitting Josh Delph with one out and the bases loaded to force in a run.
Junior left-hander Daniel Gibson came on and got pinch-hitter Seth Miller to pop up to catcher Taylor Gushue in foul territory on the first pitch for the second out, and then retired Davis on a liner to center after falling behind 3-0 in the count to limit the damage.
After his brief hiccup in the fourth, Weaver (3-0) returned to form, retiring eight straight Gators before issuing a one-out walk to senior Vickash Ramjit with one out in the seventh.
Sophomore left fielder Connor Mitchell, who got his first start of the year, followed with an infield hit, ending the night for Weaver after allowing just three hits in 6 1/3 innings of work.
“We've seen Luke in high school and know he's good,” O'Sullivan said. “He threw the ball really good tonight, so credit him. He threw the ball down in the zone, he mixed his pitches, and he did a really good job. He deserved to win tonight.”
Reliever Gage Smith replaced Weaver and proceeded to retire freshman pinch-hitters Christian Dicks and Kevin Stypulkowski on infield outs to kill the threat.
Florida's best chance came in the eighth when the Gators put two men on with two outs, and FSU reliever Robby Coles hit Gushue with his first offering to load the bases.
But Coles recovered to get Ramjit to ground out to short, ending the inning, then retired the Gators in order in the ninth to earn his second save.
UF used five pitchers, with Young (0-1) tagged with the loss.
The Gators open their SEC season this weekend with a three-game series against Kentucky starting Friday at 7:30 p.m.
“The most important thing is every day is a new day,” Bader said.