Dalton Guthrie fielded a ground ball cleanly, waited for Deacon Liput to get to second base and calmly flipped the ball for the final out of the Gainesville Regional. Shaun Anderson pumped a fist on the mound but that’s as far as the celebration would go as the Florida Gators swept the Gainesville Regional with a 10-1 win on Sunday night over Georgia Tech.
The win was Florida’s 50th of the season.
“We’ve got some work to do this week,” Kevin O’Sullivan said of his team. “Obviously our ultimate goal is to get to Omaha and win a National Championship.”
That’s been the goal for the team since their first meeting in the fall. With a rotation as deep as any in the country, one of the most reliable defenses in the nation and some bats, the Gators didn’t celebrate a Regional victory because, to them, it’s been expected since before the season even began.
Alex Faedo earned the start for the Gators and he was greeted with a run before he even took the rubber. Batting first as the away team Pete Alonso’s two-out single got things going and Mike Rivera drove Alonso in following a JJ Schwarz walk.
Faedo mowed down the first six batters he faced before a walk to start the third inning. The sophomore righty worked around that and carried a no hitter into the fifth inning.
“Alex Faedo was the story of the game,” O’Sullivan said. “Made a lot of big pitches in the first four, five innings.”
Florida added three runs in the top of the fifth. Nelson Maldonado doubled to start the frame but Danny Reyes and Dalton Guthrie were both retired in order before Jonathan India stepped into the box. India legged out an infield single to score Maldonado and then scored all the way from first when Alonso doubled to right-center. Schwarz collected his first hit of the tournament (he was 0-9 on the weekend prior), a double that scored Alonso and extended the Gators lead to 4-0.
Florida added four more runs on three hits and a Georgia Tech error in the sixth. Danny Reyes drove in Maldonado with a single. A sacrifice bunt from Dalton Guthrie and a walk to India loaded the bases for the Gainesville Regional MVP, Pete Alonso. The junior first baseman plated Reyes and Maldonado with a single through the right side and Schwarz followed suit with a single of his own to score India.
Faedo, who closed out the 2015 Gainesville Regional against FAU, threw one of his best games of the season. Faedo tossed eight innings of scoreless baseball, walking one, scattering four hits and striking out 10.
“It’s great, I got to [close out a Regional] last year and I was excited to get the chance to do it again this year,” Faedo said. “I’m just happy that I got the opportunity to do it again.”
O’Sullivan turned to Scott Moss in the ninth but the redshirt sophomore didn’t last long. The lefty earned a quick out before Trevor Craport reached on an error. Kel Johnson picked up his third hit of the night and Brandt Stallings loaded the bases with a single. Moss gave up a bases-loaded walk, which brought on Anderson.
The win is Florida’s 50th of the season, the fifth time that the Gators have accomplished that feat and the third time under Kevin O’Sullivan.
Florida will host Florida State in the Gainesville Super Regional. The best-of-three series will begin on either Friday or Saturday (the starting dates for all Super Regionals will be decided after the Regionals finish). Florida has bested Florida State the last five times they played, including sweeping the Noles in a Super Regional in 2015, and 10 of the last 12.