FSU defeats Florida in 12 innings

Special to GC

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Sophomore Quincy Nieporte opened the bottom of the 12th with a homer to left center field to lift No. 13 Florida State (27-12) to a 4-3 victory over No. 7 Florida (28-10) on Tuesday night in front of 6,634 fans at Dick Howser Stadium, the eighth-largest crowd in school history, in The Share A Little Sunshine Showdown to claim the teams’ regular-season series. Tonight marked the longest game played between the Gators and Seminoles.

UF filled the bases with two down in the top of the 12th, as junior Richie Martin singled and stole second, junior Harrison Bader (3-for-5) was walked intentionally and sophomore Peter Alonso (2-for-5) was hit by a pitch. Senior Billy Strode (2-0) kept the contest tied by having senior Josh Tobias line out to second base. Nieporte connected on the walk-off homer by sending the first pitch from sophomore Frank Rubio (0-1) out of the park for his third round-tripper of the season.

Freshman Dylan Busby (3-for-4, two RBI) had opened the scoring in the second inning with a one-out homer to left center off of sophomore Shaun Anderson, his seventh of the season.

The Gators answered with two runs on three hits in the third against senior Bryant Holtmann to seize a 2-1 advantage. Freshman Dalton Guthrie singled with one down, stole second and moved to third on a grounder by Martin. Bader delivered his 11th double down the left-field line to bring home Guthrie and Alonso followed with a base-hit into left field to plate Bader for a UF lead.

FSU loaded the bases with one down in the third but came away empty-handed. Senior Josh Delph singled to right center and junior John Sansone was hit by a pitch, prompting a pitching change. Junior Danny Young came in for Anderson (2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R) and walked junior DJ Stewart to fill the bags but then had Nieporte pop up to Martin and senior Chris Marconcini (2-for-5) ground out sharply to Alonso.

Busby greeted junior Eric Hanhold with his second homer of the game to tie the game at 2-2 in the fourth inning. Freshman JJ Schwarz (2-for-4) moved the Gators back in front with a solo shot to left field with one down in the sixth. The rookie has a team-leading 13 homers, including eight in the last week.

The Seminoles threatened in home part of the sixth, putting runners on second and third and one out. Marconcini started the frame with a base-hit to left field and junior Taylor Lewis came in for Hanhold (2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R). After fanning Busby, freshman Taylor Walls (2-for-5) executed a hit-and-run to push Marconcini to third base and Walls advanced to second on the play. However, Lewis responded with consecutive strikeouts of sophomore Ben DeLuzio and senior Danny De La Calle to preserve UF’s slim margin.

Marconcini tied the game at 3-3 to start FSU’s eighth inning. Busby delivered a single into center field and stole second before Lewis struck out Walls. Senior Bobby Poyner was summoned from the bullpen for Lewis (2.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R) and plunked freshman pinch hitter Darren Miller. After De La Calle went down looking on strikes, a wild pitch moved both Seminoles into scoring position. Tobiasended the frame with a spectacular grab in foul territory to retire Delph.

Postgame Quotes
Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan
On tonight’s game:
“It was a good game. We played well, obviously not well enough to win. We made some mistakes pitching-wise and gave up four solo homers but we had some opportunities late in the ballgame to have some good at bats with runners in scoring position. We stole two or three innings in a row to get the runners in scoring position and we just quite couldn’t have a good at bat. I thought Josh (Tobias)’s at bat there in the top of the 12th was a really good at bat – he hit the ball on the nose to the second baseman. We didn’t quite do enough to win the ballgame. Looking back, JJ (Schwarz) leads off the ninth with a ball off the wall and a couple of more inches to the left it’s a home run. But, the ball doesn’t go out and we don’t get a bunt down. We needed to get the runner to third base and drive him in there.”

Postgame Notes

Tonight was the second extra-inning game of the season for the Gators (0-2) and the first for the Seminoles.
Florida fell for the first time all season when out-hitting its opponent, holding a 11-9 edge tonight.
Shaun Anderson made his first career start for the Gators and worked 2.1 innings, giving up a pair of hits and one run, with a strikeout and a walk.
The right-hander was the 10th different Gator to start a game this spring.
Harrison Bader matched Dalton Guthrie for the team lead with his 11th double of the season in the third inning.
JJ Schwarz home run breakdown in 2015: solo (5), two-run (5), three-run (3).
UF committed its first error since March 31, ending a stretch of seven games mistake-free, a span of 74.1 innings.
Up Next
The Gators will travel to the Magnolia State for a weekend series at Mississippi State that starts on Friday at 7 p.m. The opener can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell and will be carried on SEC Network+ through participating TV providers only through WatchESPN.

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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.