UF baseball edges No. 7 FSU
Published: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 10:30 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 10:30 p.m.
TALLAHASSEE — Harrison Bader did everything he could to make sure that Florida made the trip home with a win.
Who: Florida vs. South Carolina
When: Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
And, perhaps as importantly to the Gators, without being swept this season by No. 7 Florida State.
Bader went up at the wall in left field to grab a would-be home run and went 2 for 4 with three runs scored — including the game-winner in the ninth — as Florida defeated FSU 4-3 on Tuesday night before 6,719 fans, the fifth-largest crowd in the history of Dick Howser Stadium.
A freshman, Bader singled in the seventh inning, stole second, advanced to third on the error and then tied the game at 3 on a passed ball.
And in the ninth inning, he reached base on a throwing error by third baseman Jose Brizuela. Bader advanced to second on the play, and then to third on another throwing error by pitcher Robby Coles. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Josh Tobias.
“Probably his best game he played this year,” Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan said of Bader. “He's had a tough go of it recently. I thought he stayed on the ball tonight. Ran the bases aggressively. Offensively and defensively it was a good game for him.”
Florida (16-18) avoided what could have been its first three-game sweep at the hands of FSU since 2000. The Seminoles, who committed four errors on Tuesday, had won 4-1 in Gainesville on March 12 and 2-1 in Jacksonville on March 26.
And clearly that was a point of emphasis for the Gators on Tuesday — show pride against your rival and don't get swept. O'Sullivan delivered the message before the game and said the win was one that the Gators can build on through the SEC schedule.
“Not getting swept is a big deal,” O'Sullivan said. “They deserved to win the first two games. That was the message before the game — we have to show some resiliency. This is a win that we needed.”
On Tuesday, Florida got a solid start from Bobby Poyner, who had pitched just 1.2 innings all season. Poyner pitched four innings, allowing a run, recording three strikeouts and not allowing a walk.
While Justin Shafer allowed a run in the fifth and the sixth to allow FSU (27-6) to pull ahead 3-2, Ryan Harris and Daniel Gibson combined to shut down the Seminoles for the final three innings. Gibson didn't allow a hit in earning his first win.
Richie Martin played in just his fourth game since breaking a finger in his right hand, and for the second straight game played in center field. Martin said his finger is not 100 percent but progressing every day. He went 1 for 4 with two RBIs, doubling the number of RBIs that he had accumulated in his first 15 games.
“It definitely gives us confidence,” Martin said. “We got that win on Sunday (at Mississippi State) and today. We have a two-game winning streak and we have to keep it going. And at least get two out of three this weekend.”
DJ Stewart went 3 for 4 with a home run and Jameis Winston went 2 for 3 with an RBI double for FSU, which had eight hits but stranded runners in scoring position in the first, third and eighth innings. Stephen McGee was on third with one out in the eighth, but Gibson got Brizuela to ground into a double play.
Florida plays host to No. 11 South Carolina in a three-game series that begins Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.