The No.5 Florida Gators took care of business in the final non-conference game before the start of SEC play, defeating UNF 7-2 on Tuesday night.
It was a painfully slow start for the Gators offensively, who were set down in order through the first four innings by RHP Clayton Boroski.
Tyler Nesbitt made his second start of the 2023 season, but only completed two innings in the contest. Nesbitt allowed one run, three hits, and one HBP while striking out two batters. Nesbitt is off to a good start to his 2023 campaign, holding a 1.17 ERA across 7.2 innings pitched. With the Alabama series starting on Thursday, Coach Kevin O’Sullivan wanted to make sure Nesbitt was available for the early weekend series. With 42 pitches tonight, Nesbitt probably won’t pitch on Thursday night, but he could make an appearance on Friday or Saturday if needed.
Fisher Jameson took the mound in the third inning, giving up three base knocks and a run in the frame, allowing the Osprey’s to jump out to an early 2-0 lead. Jameson would settle down, posting back-to-back scoreless innings vs UNF. Jameson (W 1-3) was credited with the victory in tonight’s contest.
Florida found their first base runner in the fifth inning when Josh Rivera walked to start the frame. Three singles and a Rene Lastres triple would plate four runs for the Gators, who would take a 4-2 lead after five.
RHP Nick Ficarrotta cruised through the next three innings for the Gators, allowing no runs and one hit while striking out two. The redshirt sophomore pounded the strike zone like he has for his entire collegiate career, trusting his defense to make plays behind him.
The Gators found themselves three insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth after a two-RBI single from the bat of Ty Evans and a double steal which scored Evans from third base.
Brandon Neely pitched the ninth inning and found himself in some trouble after a walk and a two-out error from Ty Evans, who let a ball slip right through his glove on a routine fly ball. Neely escaped the inning with no damage done, striking out one batter in his lone inning.
UNF recorded the first seven hits of the ballgame while Florida found the next seven, with the Osprey’s edging out the Gators 8-7 in the hit department.
It wasn’t exactly a dominating day at the plate, but the Gators came up with big hits when they needed them most. Florida batted .364 with two outs, .667 with runners on, and .571 with runners in scoring position. Those timely base knocks will be needed in SEC play.
Florida’s pitching staff was sharp against UNF, allowing just two free passes in the contest (one BB, one HBP) and striking out eight.
The Gators (16-3) sit in a good spot with SEC play starting on Thursday, March 16th against Alabama.