Florida stays unbeaten against Stetson, 9-6, for 11th win in 13 games

Zach Abolverdi
Gator Sports
Florida's Nathan Hickey hit a two-run double in the fifth inning Tuesday against Stetson. [File]

Fresh off their series victory over Vanderbilt, the Gators beat Stetson at Florida Ballpark Tuesday for the third time in 2021. 

Behind a four-run fifth inning, a late homer by Kris Armstrong and 4.2 scoreless frames from pitchers Trey Van Der Weide (2-1) and David Luethje, UF defeated the Hatters, 9-6, for its 11th win in 13 games.

Sterlin Thompson had his second three-hit game of the year (both against Stetson), while Nathan Hickey had a team-high two RBI and two hits along with Jacob Young. The Gators (31-13) finished with double-digits hits (12) for the 26th time this season, which is 59 percent of their games. 

The Hatters (23-18) opened the game with solo homers from Gainesville native Andrew MacNeil and Hernen Sardinas. UF took a 3-2 lead in the second with Thompson and Colby Halter’s doubles and a left-center single by Young. 

After starter Timmy Manning gave up a leadoff hit, a stolen base and consecutive walks, which allowed Stetson to tie the game with Banks Griffith’s RBI single, Van Der Weide replaced him on the mound. Manning finished with three strikeouts and three earned runs in 2.1 innings. 

After Armstrong’s flyout plated Young in the fourth, Florida scored four fifth-inning runs with Josh Rivera’s single, Hickey’s two-RBI double and a double from Jud Fabian. 

Van Der Weide had a 1-2-3 frame in the fifth and was replaced by Luethje, who pitched two hitless innings with a strikeout. The Hatters loaded the bases on UF reliever Ryan Cabarcas, but added just one run as Christian Scott (second save) got the Gators out of the eighth-inning jam. 

Armstrong gave Florida some insurance with his seventh homer of the year in the bottom of the eighth. MacNeil and Hernen both homered again in the ninth, but Stetson couldn’t rally as Scott earned the save. 

UF coach Kevin O’Sullivan improved to 8-0 against the Hatters and will face them one more time this season, next Tuesday in Deland. The Gators hit the road this weekend for a three-game series at Kentucky. 

First pitch is scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m. on SEC Network.