Florida (16-9) defeated No. 1 Florida State (19-5), 4-1, on Tuesday night in front of 10,125 fans at The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville to secure the teams’ regular-season series. The Gators had upended the top-ranked Seminoles, 3-1, in Gainesville last Tuesday night and will visit Tallahassee on April 8.
In his first start of the season, junior right-hander Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) fired four shutout innings, giving up two hits, with three strikeouts and a pair of walks. Sophomore southpaw Danny Young (Boca Raton, Fla.) (3-0) threw 3.2 scoreless frames and totaled four strikeouts to collect the victory, while junior right-hander Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) recorded the final four outs to collect his team-leading fourth save. The Seminoles avoided their first shutout loss to the Gators since March 3, 1994, with a leadoff homer in the ninth by junior Jose Brizuela.
Junior Braden Mattson (San Antonio, Texas) (2-for-4) opened the scoring with a bases-loaded single in the first inning against senior Peter Miller (1-2). Junior Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) and sophomore Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) drew consecutive walks and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. After junior Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) was walked intentionally with one down, Mattson sliced a base-hit into right field. Miller prevented further damage with back-to-back strikeouts.
The Gators added two more runs in the sixth to build a 3-0 advantage. Mattson legged out an infield hit, went to second on a wild pitch and scored when Shafer’s bunt was thrown away by Miller (5.0 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 6 K). Junior Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) greeted senior Gage Smith was a sacrifice bunt that advanced Shafter to third and freshman John Sternagel (Rockledge, Fla.) (1-for-3, two RBI) delivered a fielder’s choice to drive in Shafer with the third run.
Sternagel provided UF with a 4-0 lead in the eighth by roping an RBI single up the middle off of sophomore Kenny Burkhead that plated Shafer. Shafer had led off with a single into right field and was sacrificed into scoring position on a bunt by freshman Ryan Larson (Orlando, Fla.).
· Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan earned his third victory over the nation’s top-ranked team.
· Since 2008, 17 of the 24 games between the Gators and Seminoles have been decided by three runs or less.
· Florida improved its mark to 3-2 against ranked teams in 2014.
· The Gators played error-free baseball and are now 8-2 this year when committing zero errors.
· UF boosted its season ledger to 11-1 when scoring first.
· Freshman John Sternagel drove in the first two runs of his collegiate career.
· Florida’s pitching staff has yielded a total of two runs to FSU in 18 innings this season, with 15 strikeouts and five walks.
· Each team totaled six hits tonight.