Top-ranked Florida sweeps No. 12 Florida State

Florida coach Kevin O' Sullivan is 25-16 against FSU. [Cyndi Chambers/ Correspondent/File]


TALLAHASSEE — Florida senior catcher JJ Schwarz may hope to see Florida State a few more times in the Super Regionals.

If that doesn’t happen, Schwarz and the rest of the Gators can look back on 2018 as another season when they swept the rival Seminoles.

Schwarz added a pair of big insurance runs with an RBI single and a long home run off the left field scoreboard in the eighth inning Tuesday, lifting No. 1 Florida to a 6-3 win over No. 12 FSU before 5,979 at Dick Howser Stadium.

Provided Florida and FSU don’t meet again in the postseason, Schwarz will finish his UF career batting .369 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs against the Seminoles.

“I always feel good playing against these guys,” Schwarz said. “I always have a chip on my shoulder. Way back in high school, there’s kind of a recruiting battle between FSU and Florida and ultimately, I obviously picked Florida.”

Schwarz said he originally wanted to go to Florida State but, “It didn’t work out, and ultimately I came to Florida.”

But Schwarz wasn’t the only offensive star for Florida on a cool April night. Left fielder Austin Langworthy went 2 for 4 with two RBI to extend his hitting streak to eight games. Junior third baseman Jonathan India extended his hit streak to 20 games, going 1 for 3 with two runs scored.

“Any time you beat an in-state rival, it’s really good,” Langworthy said. “I haven’t lost to these guys the two years I’ve been here and I hope to keep it that way.”

Florida  (29-6) picked up its eighth straight win against FSU (24-10) and has won 13 of the last 14 meetings between the two schools.

“The recent success we’ve had, some things you just can’t explain,” Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “I don’t know. We just have played clean baseball. I don’t think there’s any secret to it. We haven’t kicked the ball around.”

Freshman righty Tommy Mace (3-0) allowed two runs over four innings to earn the win, with Michael Byrne striking out three in 1.1 innings to earn his eighth save of the season. In between, freshman righty Jack Leftwich (2.2 IP, 1 ER) and sophomore lefty Andrew Baker (1 IP, 0 ER) worked out of jams in crucial bridge innings. O’Sullivan allowed Leftwich and Baker to work through some jams with UF’s bullpen already taxed following a doubleheader Sunday against Tennessee.

“I thought Andrew was really good,” O’Sullivan said. “He came in and did exactly what we needed him to do. It’s a tough lineup to navigate through because there are so many left-handed hitters, switch hitters.”

In an effort to change its luck, FSU brought back one of its standouts, former Seminole and current Tampa Bay Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, to throw out the first pitch. The atmosphere became even more charged when designated hitter Cooper Swanson launched a 1-0 pitch from Mace over the bullpen in left field, giving FSU an early 1-0 in the third inning.

But the Gators answered with three runs in the fourth against FSU righty Andrew Karp, a rally that started when India singled, stole second and moved to third on a throwing error by FSU catcher Cal Raleigh. Wil Dalton then delivered an RBI double down the left field line to tie the score at 1. Florida then got a pair of clutch two-out RBI singles from Langworthy and Blake Reese to go ahead 3-1.

“That’s kind of been our mantra this whole season,” Schwarz said.

Mace gave way to Leftwich after walking a batter to lead off the fifth. Leftwich limited the damage, keeping the Gators up 3-2 after an RBI groundout by shortstop Mike Salvatore.

Florida answered in the sixth with an RBI single by Schwarz and an RBI double by Langworthy to go up 5-2.

Leftwich worked out of a bases loaded jam in the sixth but surrendered a solo home run to FSU left fielder Jackson Lueck in the seventh, cutting UF’s lead to 5-3. Baker walked the first batter he saw in the bottom of seventh but got Raleigh to fly out to end the inning. Baker then struck out the first two batters he faced in the eighth before giving way to Byrne.

In the top of the eighth, Schwarz put Florida back up 6-3, launching a towering home run on a 3-2 pitch from FSU reliever C.J. Van Eyk high off the scoreboard in left field.

“I knew he wasn’t going to throw his breaking ball because he wasn’t getting it over for strikes,” Schwarz said. “I was just sitting dead red fastball and tried to put a good swing on it.”


    • Tim. I suggest you check out the all-time series records in the two sports below:
      Florida 34 wins. FSU 26 wins. There have been two ties.
      Florida 43 wins. FSU 25 wins.
      Doing a basic math calculation, it seems that FSU, not Florida, has had the most difficulty beating Florida in football and basketball, even with FSU’s recent success. Still a long way to catch up, Tim (or should I address you as Mike Winter? Silly question).

      • Thanks, Tampa…that’s somewhat of a consolation. But I’m pretty sure FSU has the all-time record against us in baseball by a wide margin. Recent history, of course, says otherwise. As for basketball, with the exception of the BD years, neither program has much to brag about, and I would consider the two programs to be about even in terms of reputation and accomplishment.

        Football of course is king — and what counts the most. While we own the all time record, most of our wins came during the “cracker”-ball years — i.e., before either program became nationally relevant. I don’t think it can be seriously disputed that FSU has been the more reputable and glamorous program over the past 40 years. During that span, they own the series record, played for more nattys, gotten more heismans, developed more all-Americans, placed more players in the NFL, have a higher national profile and image, and worst of all, have taken ownership of the Swamp. Christ, even Spurrier has a losing record against them. We’re it not for the Tebow years (which coincided with a historical and exceptional low point for FSU), there’s no telling how much worse things would be.

        I’m hoping Mullen will be able to change this, but as i’ve said countless times in other posts, it will take several years for this to happen. In the meantime, i’ll cheer on the Gators on the diamond, knowing full well it’s all we have against our damnable cross-state rivals.

  1. the nicest thing about the recent domination? it builds upon itself. as florida dominates, more players want to come to florida over traditional powers fsu and miami, and florida dominates even more. now if the gates can only handle UCF and Bethune Cookman…

    • Tell me about it, we’re on the other side of that issue in football and basketball. The Seminoles have dominated us for four+ years in both sports. Seems like all the quality recruits want to go to FSU, not UF. We recently celebrated getting a commitment from a 3 star QB, only to have FSU haul in a higher rated 4 star stud a few days later. It is getting very tiresome!!! Absolutely euphoric that we can take them in baseball, even if they own us in virtually everything else.

      • Dude relax on those QBs, Mullen wanted Jalon Jones all the way and once he committed there was no room for the FSU guy. These two kids are juniors and Jones may well earn his 4th star his senior year but more important than that he was chosen by Mullen and he will be coached and developed by Mullen. The same Mullen who turned a 3 star Dak Prescott and a 3 star Nick Fitzgerald into top SEC QBs and with Dak, a top NFL QB.
        We have the real QB whisperer now, not the pretend one.

      • The recruit that just committed to FSU is a pro-style QB and is 6’1 and 220 lbs. Jones is a duel-threat QB and is 6’4″ and 200 plus lbs. We will see which QB becomes an on-the-field star and not just a recruit with stars by his name on recruiting sites. My hunch and bet, under Mullen and Johnson, it will be Jones.

  2. Do any of you realize the excellence of Gator sports. No matter the article written, there are ALWAYS so called Gator fans commenting how terrible we are and will continue to be. So, yes, I looked it up. Do you realize we have won the SEC’s overall, men’s and women’s championship sixteen times and no other team has done it once. We have won the trophy 26 out of 29 times. Is anyone PROUD to be a Gator.

    • So called Gator fans it is. They call them trolls and this one is Mike Winter (aka the Tebow Curse, BlackJUJU, bf, Tim, sometimes Mac’s Stinking BBQ Sauce). He’s also a liberal Clinton lover who spends more time hating on UF as opposed to cheering for an FSU school he wasn’t able to get into. He also defends the thug/assault culture that permeated FSU during their prime years under Bowden in the 90’s. Mike defends Bowden’s attempt to get Michael Gibson a lighter sentence after he robbed, assaulted and shot a fellow student days before Christmas. Mike has problems and shouldn’t be representative of FSU. He makes them look bad.

  3. I grow weary of all the gator-haters and armchair quarterbacks. In the 25 years Foley was AD, the Gators won more national titles than any other team but Stanford. They tied Stanford with 25 national titles in all NCAA sports those years. Yet there are always some pinheads and trolls and gutless ‘fans’ who say the Gators are Losers? Please. Do you think Ohio State or FSU would like to trade places? Please note: The last time Ohio State won the NCAA basketball title was 1961. AND FSU has had only ONE NCAA basketball title game in its history (along with one Final Flour) /and that was 46 years ago vs. UCLA. They lost. That’s too bad. I would put the Gator sports record for all sports up against any rivalry team, including Georgia, FSU, Tennessee, ALABAMA, LSU, ETC. YES, football dominates and basketball is second in the SEC, but all sports count. Outside of KY, how many SEC teams have won an NCAA basketball title? How many have won more than one, outside of KY? Case closed. Stop expecting every Gator team to go undefeated in every sport every year. And stop expecting immediate miracles from White after he inherited a LOSING team 3 years ago from Billy D. Gator BBall will be much improved next year. I like many of the possible combinations–and future post players.
    Sign me disgusted with all these armchair quarterbacks who KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT ANY SPORT AND ARE NEVER WRONG.