Florida only had four hits but three of them went for extra bases, including two home runs, and that was enough for a 3-2 win to clinch the road series at South Carolina.
“To win a series on the road, it’s not easy to do,” Kevin O’Sullivan said. “I was at Clemson for nine years, when the crowd [at South Carolina] gets into it like that … we needed to play our best baseball today.
The Gators got on the board early with Wil Dalton’s leadoff home run. The hit was Dalton’s third of the weekend, his third long ball as well. Jonathan India hit a two-out triple, a few feet shy of what would have been his ninth home run of the season before Ridge Chapman got out of the inning.
Chapman, who wasn’t named the starting pitcher until Sunday retired the next seven batters he faced, surprising the Gators based on the scouting report they had on the junior.
“Coming into the game today, Ridge Chapman had 10 walks in 13 innings and all he did was throw strikes,” said O’Sullivan. “I’m thinking to myself, we’ve got two Sunday starters going 92-96 – that shows you the depth we’ve got in this league.”
Chapman’s streak ended with a JJ Schwarz home run to lead off the fourth inning. He hit Jonathan India and then his pickoff attempt went wild, allowing India to advance to third and score two pitches later with a Deacon Liput sacrifice fly. The 3-0 lead felt good with Tyler Dyson cruising.
Florida’s sophomore scattered four hits over five innings before going back out to the mound in the sixth with his pitch count already over 100. It was just the first time this season that Dyson has passed the century pitch count and it showed. Jacob Olson led the frame off with a home run and Dyson hit Hunter Taylor before O’Sullivan came out to get him.
Freshman Jordan Butler took over in a tough spot with the tying run on base but Butler got a strikeout and an inning ending double play to get out of the jam. Butler lasted 1.2 innings before O’Sullivan turned to his closer Michael Byrne. The junior hadn’t given up a run this season and he wouldn’t on Sunday, earning a seven out save, his fifth of the season. Byrne hasn’t allowed a run in 23.2 innings dating back to last season.
Florida will have four games at McKethan Stadium this week starting Tuesday night at 6 p.m. and then they will host No. 5 Arkansas, who just swept No. 4 Kentucky.