February 23, 2014,
Special to GC
CORAL GABLES, Fla. - A three-run Miami home run in the sixth inning broke a 2-2 tie between the No. 20 Gators and No. 17 Hurricanes, giving Miami (4-2) a series-clinching win over Florida (4-3) Saturday in Coral Gables in front of a crowd of 4,076 at Alex Rodriguez Park.
After the second game of the series started with two scoreless frames for the Gators and Hurricanes, Miami put up one run each in the third and fourth innings, while Florida countered with one each in the fifth and sixth - the first on a freshman Ryan Larson (Orlando, Fla.) sacrifice fly in the fifth, while junior Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) (2-for-3, one RBI) knotted the game at 2-2 with a RBI single in the top of the sixth.
A three-run homer from Miami freshman designated hitter Zack Collins (1-for-3, one run, three RBI) in the bottom of the sixth gave the Hurricanes a 5-2 edge and the eventual series clinching victory - Miami's first series win over Florida since 2009.
Freshman righty Brett Morales (Tampa, Fla.) earned the start in game two of the series for Florida, worked a scoreless first two innings and went a career-best 4.0 innings with two Ks. Morales retired six of the eight batters he faced in the first two stanzas, giving up a double to the Hurricanes' left fielder Tyler Palmer (2-for-4, one RBI) in the first and issuing a walk to Zack Collins in the second, while Miami lefty Bryan Radziewski sat the Gators down in order in the first and third innings.
Morales gave up a leadoff walk to nine-hole hitter Johnny Ruiz in the bottom of the third inning to set up Miami's first score. With one down in the frame, Palmer plated Ruiz with a single through the left side for the 1-0 Hurricanes lead. Palmer proceeded to swipe second and third, but Morales popped David Thompson up before junior third baseman Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) snagged a Brad Fieger laser through the left side with a diving stop in the dirt to save a Canes' run and retire the side.
Sophomore Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) and junior Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) bunted for infield singles to get the rally going for the Gators in the top of the fourth and a one-out Peter Alonso (Tampa, Fla.) groundout moved the duo into scoring position, but Martin was picked off at third to prevent the Orange and Blue from capitalizing.
A Garret Kennedy solo homer to right field tacked on a second run for Miami in the bottom of the fourth as the Canes extended the score, 2-0.
Junior Braden Mattson (San Antonio, Texas) (1-for-2, one run, two walks) roped a leadoff double to the left-center wall in the fifth to give the Gators a spark and Shafer gave the Gators runners on the corners after a base hit to center before advancing to second on a Tobias ground out. Larson then sent UF's first run across the dish with a sac fly for a 2-1 ballgame heading to the bottom of the fifth.
A Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) (1-for-4, one run) two-out single to left field started a two-out rally for the Gators in the top of the sixth, as both Alonso and Mattson drew consecutive walks for ducks on the pond to set up Shafer's game-tying RBI single to left field, but a pinch hit lineout had the game tied at 2-2 heading to the bottom of the inning.
Thompson struck again for Miami with a leadoff double down the left field line and Willie Abreu milked Gators' right-hander Eric Hanhold (Palm Harbor, Fla.) for a one-out walk to set up Collins' first-pitch three-run homer off of sophomore lefty Danny Young (Boca Raton, Fla.) for the 5-2 Miami lead after six innings.
Florida turned to the bullpen through the final two innings, using four arms down the stretch in sophomore Jay Carmichael (Cape Coral, Fla.) and freshmen Frank Rubio (Miami Shores, Fla.) (1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 BB), Tyler Deel (Jacksonville, Fla.) (0.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) and Dane Dunning (Fleming Island, Fla.).