No. 1 Florida loses first series to Miami since 2014

Zach Abolverdi
Gator Sports
View Comments
Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan watches his Gators spot Miami an 8-0 lead by the fourth inning Sunday at Florida Ballpark. The Gators began to rally in the bottom of that inning.

After ending a six-game losing streak to Florida in comeback fashion Saturday, Miami snapped a six-year losing streak in Sunday’s rubber match. 

The No. 21 Hurricanes had a pair of three-run innings and held off a late rally by top-ranked UF, clinching their first series in the rivalry since 2014 with an 8-6 victory.

Prior to this weekend, Florida had won 12 of the last 13 series against Miami dating back to 2009. 

"You gotta credit Miami. They did a nice job," UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "Maybe this is a wake-up call, and that’s what I told them in the dugout there at the end. Maybe this is what this team needs.”

The Gators were held scoreless through the first three innings and Sunday starter Hunter Barco struggled on the mound, allowing seven earned runs and eight hits before being replaced in the fourth. UM freshman Victor Mederos made his first start, striking out five batters with one earned run and seven hits in 4.2 innings pitched. 

"I expected both starters to probably go six innings this weekend, and obviously neither one did," O’Sullivan said. "With the bullpen being a little light, we needed our starter (Sunday) to get a little bit deeper in the game. We ran our pitch count up again.

"Christian Scott pitched great this weekend, but the bullpen was not good. I guess the best way to describe it was unexpected."

Miami opened the first with a 3-0 lead on Adrian Del Castillo’s two-RBI double and a single by Alex Toral. A Josh Rivera error tacked on a fourth run and then Raymond Gil launched a solo shot to lead off the third. 

The 'Canes (2-1) had another three-run inning in the fourth with Yohandy Morales’ triple down the right field line — which prompted O’Sullivan to pull Barco for Hunter Mink — and a two-run single from Christian Del Castillo. 

After three scoreless innings, Florida loaded the bases for three straight innings and failed to push a run across each time. Jordan Butler’s RBI single got the Gators on the board in the fourth with no outs, but then Kendrick Calilao struck out and Mac Guscette grounded into a double play. 

Butler’s next at-bat produced a second RBI single to load the bases, only for Rivera’s fly out to end the fifth. UF added two runs the following inning after Jordan Young singled and Colby Halter scored on a walk, but Butler lined out to left field with runners on first, second and third. 

Florida (1-2) cut the deficit with two more seventh-inning runs from Sterlin Thompson’s RBI double and Halter’s single. Miami made its fourth pitching change before Nathan Hickey stepped to the plate, but he flied out to right field with two runners on. 

Thompson had a tough break in the eighth when his hard line drive to first was caught by Miami’s CJ Kayfus, who tagged out Rivera for an inning-ending double play. 

"I don’t want to put it on the offense. They battled their tail off," O'Sullivan said. "Sterlin hits a ball on the nose and we get doubled up there in the eighth, but we really shouldn’t be in that position with the talent that we have on the pitching staff. The offense did their job. The bottom line is the pitching did not.

“It’s not time to press the panic button, but at the same time, these guys have been there and done that. Maybe it’s the layoff from 11 months, I don’t know. We just did not pitch economically, we didn’t pitch smart."

The Gators are back in action Tuesday for their first road game at North Florida and Garrett Milchin will get the start. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.

Note: Jacob Young extended his hitting streak to 21 games.

Up next

Who: Florida (1-2) at North Florida (1-2) 

When: 6:05 p.m. Tuesday

Radio: 98.1-FM, AM-850

Florida's Jacob Young hits a single Sunday in Game 3 of the series against Miami at Florida Ballpark. Young extended his hitting streak to 21 games.
View Comments