No. 5 Gators battle back to 10-7 baseball win over Stetson

Special to Gatorsports.com

No. 5-ranked Florida erased an early 5-0 deficit by exploding for 10 runs to down Stetson, 10-7, Wednesday at Florida Ballpark/McKethan Field.

The Gators (11-3), winners of five in a row, scored 10 runs on 14 hits, recording double-digit hits for the third time in the last five outings.

"I think every game has its own story," UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "Last Wednesday, we lost 3-2 to FAU and then tonight, it was a totally different ballgame. To fall behind five runs early in the first couple innings, I thought our team stayed into the game and engaged.

"They had some really good at-bats, even though we didn't have a whole lot of success against their starter early. We ended up driving up his pitch count quite a bit and got him out of the game probably sooner than he wanted to. I thought offensively we did a really good job tonight."

The Gators spotted the Hatters (10-4) five runs in the first two innings, but climbed all the way back to take a 7-5 lead on the strength of a four-run fifth inning.

Third-year sophomore first baseman Kris Armstrong started the rally in the fifth with a leadoff home run, his second on the season. Third-year sophomore Jacob Young followed up his first home run on the season in the fourth with an RBI double to right-center and then second-year freshman Nathan Hickey roped a two-run single to left.

The Gators started the comeback in the third inning by plating two runs in the frame. Third-year sophomore Jud Fabian scored on an error and then right fielder Kendrick Calilao drove in Hickey on a single to center.

Florida continued to pour it on in the sixth, scoring three more to push the lead to 10-5. Young added another RBI to his stellar evening by driving in Halter on a sac-fly and then Fabian doubled to left-center to score freshman Jordan Carrion. Hickey capped off the scoring with an RBI single to right-center.

"Obviously, I think we got seven pitchers in the game," O'Sullivan said. "Pitching-wise, we just had trouble closing out innings tonight. You know, we had four walks through four (innings) and normally, when you walk more hitters than you want to in a mid-week game, you don't end up winning. It's the first start for Timmy (Manning) - he'll get better. I think the biggest thing is just the command. We've got some guys at different roles and haven't started in a while, so this was a good learning experience for them. Everybody kind of chipped in."

Hickey led the Gators with a career-best four hits and added three RBI. A day after seeing his school-record 30-game hit streak come to an end, Young bounced back with three hits, two runs and three RBI.

Florida will host Jacksonville (3-8) for a three-game weekend series, starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday.