The No. 6 Florida Gators (33-12, 13-8 SEC) needed a Sunday win to avoid a sweep at the hands of Kentucky (25-17, 10-10 SEC) and got just that due to a great start from Alex Faedo and their bats waking up for the first time this weekend. The Gators avoided the sweep with a 10-1 win on a humid afternoon at McKethan Stadium.
Faedo was sensational and just what the Gators needed after a rough start from Dalton Guthrie on Saturday. Faedo threw 5.1 innings, allowing just one run on six hits, a walk and struck out four. The freshman has strung together two consecutive solid Sunday outings and is making a case to earn a place in the starting weekend rotation.
Faedo’s last three starts have come on Sunday against South Carolina, Mississippi State and Kentucky. The freshman is 2-0 with 15.1 innings pitched, has given up 13 hits, five runs, two walks and has struck out 11 with a 2.93 ERA.
“I think he might earn a Saturday start to be honest with you,” Kevin O’Sullivan said. “He’s earned it. I liked how his demeanor was today; he understood how important this game was. I thought his demeanor before the game, during the game and after the game was good. He acted like a veteran.”
Faedo got into a little bit of trouble in the second inning — where everything has gone wrong for the Gators this weekend. Back-to-back-to-back one-out singles gave the Wildcats the first run of the game. Kentucky scored first in all three games this weekend. Faedo would get out of the inning and then Florida’s bats — which finally woke up in the ninth inning on Saturday — came alive again.
Josh Tobias walked and Harrison Bader singled to start things off. Pete Alonso doubled to right-center to score Tobias and advance Bader to third. JJ Schwarz and Mike River followed up with consecutive sacrifice flies to give Florida a 3-1 advantage.
Faedo came out in the third and shut Kentucky down in order to keep the momentum on Florida’s side.
“We call those rebound runs.” Faedo explained. “We’re not supposed to give up any after we score. That was the biggest zero of the game; keep the momentum on our side. That was big. I knew I had to put a zero on the board.”
Faedo made it to the sixth inning before he was pulled with two runners on a just one out. Taylor Lewis came in and made quick work of the Wildcats, getting a foul out and a strikeout.
Lewis threw 2.1 innings of relief before handing the ball off to Bobby Poyner as Gators continued to pour on runs, scoring two in the fourth, fifth and sixth and another run in the seventh.
Florida gets the week off due to final exams and will then travel to Georgia for a three game series with the Bulldogs starting Friday night.