Seminoles stop Gators’ streaks

FSU's Robby Martin with a single in the top of the first inning Tuesday against the Gators at McKethan Stadium. [Cyndi Chambers/For the Gainesville Sun]

There was never a doubt Florida would lose a baseball game this season. Nobody goes 56-0.

“But you never want to lose to them,” said UF sophomore Jacob Young, who managed to extend his hitting streak to 18 games with a infield single.

The Gators saw their perfect record disappear in a barrage of strikeouts and poor at-bats, losing to rival Florida State 2-0 Tuesday night. The loss also snapped an 11-game winning streak against the Seminoles.

FSU lefties Antonio Velez (1-0) and Parker Messick struck the Gators out 14 times and limited the nation’s No. 1 team to three hits, as a crowd of 5,276 looked on at McKethan Stadium.

“I was 9-0 against them,” said UF senior Kirby McMullen, who had one of the three UF hits. “We definitely wanted to keep the streak alive. It definitely sucks that we lost.”

The No. 15 Seminoles (11-5) scored a run in the first inning and another in the eighth and Florida only had two runners get as far as second base in the game.

Velez allowed only one hit, McMullen’s double in the fourth inning. McMullen also flirted with an opposite field homer in the first inning, but right fielder Robby Martin reached over the fence to catch it.

“I thought it had a chance there at first,” McMullen said.

FSU had scored to start the game on a bloop single with two outs by Reese Albert. Starter Nick Pogue (1-1) went three innings and freshman Tyler Nesbitt pitched three scoreless relief innings.

But Florida could do little with the two FSU lefties. And when the Seminoles scored on a sacrifice fly in the eighth, it felt like a dozen runs had crossed the plate.

“Disappointing to say the least,” said Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan. “We knew we weren’t going to go 56-0, but our approach at the plate was not good at all.

“We have to flush it and go back to work. Hopefully, this will bring us back to reality. But you have to keep it in perspective. A baseball season has ups and downs and how you handle the downs will dictate how you go moving forward.”

Florida lost despite five UF pitchers striking out 15 batters. 

“We did a good job holding them to two runs,” said McMullen. “(Velez) just kept us off stride. He had three good pitches.”

The Gators rarely had hard-hit outs in the game. And that was especially frustrating for O’Sullivan. 

FSU came into the game with 32 errors in 15 games. So the plan was to put the ball in play early and often.

“We had a lot of soft contact,” O’Sullivan said. “We were looking fastball and they threw breaking ball. When we were looking breaking ball, they threw fastballs. 

“They just kept us off balance.”

 The Gators continue their homestand by starting SEC play with three games against third-ranked Georgia starting Friday at 6:30 p.m.