The Florida Gators (47-16) made it a clean sweep in the Gainesville Regional with a 2-1 win over Florida Atlantic University (42-19) on Sunday afternoon to advance to a Super Regional for the first time since 2012.
Gainesville Regional MVP JJ Schwarz was responsible for both of the Florida Gators runs. Josh Tobias scored when Schwarz reached on a fielding error in the fourth inning and Schwarz singled home Richie Martin in the sixth inning.
“To beat a team of Florida’s caliber, you have to play flawless,” FAU Coach John McCormack said.
Florida starter Alex Faedo struggled in the first inning. Faedo gave up a one-out triple to Billy Endris before securing the second out of the inning. A line drive off the bat of Ricky Santiago gave FAU a 1-0 lead and the first deficit the Gators had faced all weekend.
“In order to win at this stage of the game you’ve gotta do all three, pitch, hit and play defense,” Kevin O’Sullivan said after the game.
Faedo settled down, finishing the game with six innings pitched (a career high), only allowing three hits while striking out six (tied for a career high). Faedo had struggled his last four starts with a combined line of 11 innings pitched, 18 hits, 9 earned runs, 4 walks and 9 strikeouts but Kevin O’Sullivan showed the freshman a vote of confidence on Sunday and that paid off.
Senior Bobby Poyner relieved Faedo in the seventh inning. Poyner worked two innings of scoreless baseball, giving up just two hits, while striking out four.
After Poyner struck out the side in the eighth inning, the game was delayed for 67 minutes due to lightning in the area. When play resumed the Gators went down in order before O’Sullivan turned to closer Taylor Lewis with just three outs standing between Florida and a Super Regional. Lewis earned two quick ground outs before he allowed a single to right field but he bounced back inducing a pop fly to Buddy Reed in center field to shut down the game and earn his seventh save of the season.
The Gators had five players named to the All-Regional team; catcher JJ Schwarz, outfielders Harrison Bader, Buddy Reed, designated hitter Jeremy Vasquez and A.J. Puk.
Florida will host the Gainesville Super Regional, where they will be paired up with the winner of the Tallahassee Regional.