After opening up to a healthy lead, the No. 4 Florida Gators’ (21-5, 3-3 SEC) bullpen almost threw away the game against Stetson (14-12). Florida was able to mount a late-inning comeback, and a Josh Tobias home run helped Florida escape with a 9-6 win on Tuesday night.
Richie Marin kicked things off in the very first frame with a one-out single. Harrison Bader followed with a walk and then the bats put together back-to-back hits to plate two before JJ Schwarz earned a RBI with a groundout. Mike Rivera’s single four pitches later gave Florida a 4-0 advantage that starting pitcher Alex Faedo ran with.
Faedo gave up a one-out triple and allowed the run to score with a groundout to the next batter but cruised the rest of his outing. Faedo threw five strong innings, needing just 60 pitches to do so.
“That was a really good start. His pitch count was 60 because we still want to use him towards the back end of the weekend,” manager Kevin O’Sullivan said. “That’s as good as anybody can throw. If we had glasses on in left field (in the bottom of the first), he probably doesn’t give up a run.”
After O’sullivan made the move to the bullpen, things started to unravel for Florida. Sophomore Frank Rubio took over on the mound and promptly gave up two singles and hit a batter before being yanked from the game. O’Sullivan turned to junior Danny Young to get out of the mess but he was unable to do so. Young walked in a run and let another Hatter cross the plate on a wild pitch. A double cleared the bases and tied the game. Eric Hanhold took over and allowed the go ahead run to score before getting out of the inning.
Florida came to the plate in the eighth inning trailing by a run with their hopes of winning dwindling as Ryan Larson struck out and Dalton Guthrie grounded out to start the inning.
With just four outs standing between Florida and their third loss in the last four games, Richie Martin breathed life into Florida with a seven-pitch walk. Harrison Bader worked the count full, which allowed Martin to take off with the 3-2 pitch. That head start proved to be enough for Martin to score on a Bader single to center. With the game tied, Josh Tobias walked up to the plate and smacked a 1-0 offering deep into the night to give Florida a two-run lead.
The Gators tagged on insurance run in the ninth inning before closer Taylor Lewis came in to finish off the game. The save was a team-high sixth for Lewis on the season.
- Buddy Reed extended his career-long hitting streak to 13 games.
- Freshman Mike Rivera is also in the midst of a career-long five-game hitting streak.
- Five innings is a career-high for starter Alex Faedo.
- The Gators have had double-digit hits in eight of their last 11 games.
- The comeback win on Tuesday was the sixth come from behind victory of the season for the Gators.
- The Gators will host Alabama for a three-game series starting Thursday night at McKethan Stadium. The Tide and Gators will play Thursday night at 7 p.m., Friday night at 7 p.m. and finish things off Saturday at 1 p.m.