It took some late inning heroics for the Gators to steal game two of a doubleheader from the Brown Bears. Pinch hitter Avery Barnes drove in Bryson Barber with a bases loaded single in the ninth inning to give the Gators an 8-7 victory and a split of their doubleheader with the Ivy League School.
Game two started with an eerily similar feeling to game one as a first inning error by Brandon McArthur put runners at first and third. Starter Patrick Keating pitched his way out of the jam with no damage done.
Brown led 3-0 in the fourth inning and 7-2 in the sixth inning before the Gator bats woke up. According to freshman Josh Adams, the Gators got a wakeup call from the Florida coaches in the middle of the sixth.
“I’d say it was them a little bit,” Adams said with sly grin that let you know the coaches’ tirade was bigger than he let on.
Whatever elicited the reaction, the bats responded. Two runs on a Jon Townsend triple and Buddy Munroe sacrifice helped the Gators close the gap to 7-4.
Clint Franklin came on to pitch the first of four scoreless innings before the Gators tied the game up. He went four scoreless innings, giving up three hits and two strikeouts.
“I just tried to come in and stop the bleeding,” Franklin said. “I didn’t stop it as well as I should have done, but we held them and won the game.”
Franklin has pitched outstanding out of the Gator bullpen all season. He has thrown 14.2 innings this season and given up only two runs.
“A lot of [my improvement] is coaching,” Franklin said. “I don’t know if you remember last year, but I didn’t throw too well. Coach really knows how to teach. I’ve learned not to throw around guys and let people make outs behind them.”
The Gators tied the game up in the seventh inning with three runs. Josh Adams started the three-run inning with a solo home run to right field. Cole Figueroa and McArthur coaxed back-to-back walks before Jonathan Pigott bunted down the third base line. Brown let the ball go, hoping it would roll foul but it stuck on the third base line giving Pigott a hit and loading the bases. Barber got hit by a pitch to bring one run in and a sacrifice fly by Townsend tied the game at seven.
The Gators rallied to win the game in the ninth inning. Bryson Barber led off with a single up the middle. Chris Freshcorn then followed with a sacrifice bunt back to the pitcher, who launched the ball into center field trying to get the force at second, allowing Barber to move to third base. After Jon Townsend was intentionally walked to load the bases, Barnes pinch hit for catcher Buddy Munroe, and drove a 2-2 pitch into left-center field to end the game.
“It’s always more difficult to come off the bench cold,” Barnes said. “In that situation you’re just trying to do the best you can for the guys who had been playing hard all day.”
Despite the win, head coach Kevin O’Sullivan was far from pleased with his team’s effort over the doubleheader.
“Today wasn’t good,” O’Sullivan said. “We addressed the kids after we took a poor round of batting practice. We tried to motivate them. Then we took a bad round of infield, and it carried right into the game. We’re going to address a few things. The way we played today isn’t acceptable. Intensity-wise, their kids (Brown) deserved to win both ball games.”
From the beginning of the day, Brown pitchers threw an abundance of curveballs. Despite acknowledging this early in the doubleheader, O’Sullivan said the Gators didn’t make any changes.
“We had poor at-bats the entire day and didn’t make adjustments,” O’Sullivan said. “They threw balls on the outer half and we kept trying to pull balls.”
Regardless of what it might have looked like on the field, O’Sullvain said the Gators didn’t underestimate Brown’s abilities.
“We absolutely did not [overlook Brown],” O’Sullivan said. “This team will not overlook anyone. We’re not that good. Quite frankly, they did something we did last year. They went to a regional. That was brought up.”
The three game series will conclude tomorrow at one o’clock. Freshman sensation Tommy Toledo will take the mound for the Gators, who will try to will the series on Sunday.