Shafer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- No. 29 Florida (5-7) used a four-run third inning and solid pitching to collect a 6-3 victory in the decisive third game of its weekend series against No. 21 Miami (Fla.) (10-2) on Sunday afternoon at McKethan Stadium. The Gators have taken the last four regular-season series against the Hurricanes: 2010 (2-1), 2011 (3-0), 2012 (3-0) and 2013 (2-1). In addition, Kevin O’Sullivan improved to 17-7 in his tenure versus UM after two consecutive triumphs to claim the series and UF has now collected 13 wins in the past 14 meetings between the Sunshine State rivals. 

Sophomore Justin Shafer went 3-for-4 this afternoon and finished 7-for-12 (.583) in the series, while freshman right-hander Jay Carmichael (1-1) picked up his first collegiate win with two scoreless innings in relief of freshman starter Eric Hanhold. Freshman Harrison Bader was 2-for-4 with his first collegiate RBI.

“These Sunday games are tough -- it was a deciding game,” O’Sullivan said. “For us, it was the difference between two games in the standings: we could have gone down to four games under .500 or two under .500. It was a big game for us, it’s a rivalry weekend and I was awfully proud at the way we bounced back today and this weekend in general after a tough Friday-night loss.”

“We scored four in the eighth last night and battled back, and then today we jumped out there early and put some good swings on the ball, but we do have some things to work on. I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t put any runs on the board after the fourth inning, but those things can be corrected. I want them to enjoy the win. It’s been a tough go the first part of this season, but when you get the chance to win a series against a really good team, a rival, you have to feel good about things.”

“These are two great wins,” Shafer said. “To take the series against a great Miami team, they hadn’t lost all year -- that’s big for us. Just like losing is contagious, so is winning. Hopefully, we keep it rolling; we’ve got five games this next week. We feel pretty good but we still have a lot to work on; we’re going to keep getting better.”

Senior Chantz Mack opened the scoring for the Hurricanes in the first inning with an RBI grounder off Hanhold. Freshman Ricky Eusebio (2-for-5) began the game with a single into right field and stole second before taking third on a fly out by junior Alex Hernandez. Mack’s grounder to second base broke the ice.

Helped by a two-out error, the Gators notched the equalizer in the bottom of the frame against sophomore Andrew Suarez (1-1). Sophomore Casey Turgeon (1-for-3, two runs) singled with one down and Shafer raised his hitting streak to 10 games with a double into left center field. Suarez struck out redshirt sophomore Zack Powers but then had an errant throw to second base trying to pick Shafer off, enabling Turgeon to come home with the tying run. Shafer advanced to third on a passed ball and Suarez had senior Vickash Ramjit ground out to first base to keep the game tied.

Miami had runners on the corners with one down in the second inning but was unable to score. Junior Brad Fieger drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a grounder by senior Alex San Juan and went to third on a wild pitch by Hanhold. After senior Michael Broad was hit by a pitch, the Gators threw out Fieger at the plate on a 1-6-3-2 putout and had freshman Brandon Lopez ground out.

Following a perfect third inning by Hanhold, the Gators exploded for four runs on three hits to build a 5-1 advantage. Freshman Richie Martin extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a leadoff double and has now reached base in all 12 games this year. Turgeon earned a free pass for two runners aboard and a one-out throwing error by Suarez allowed Martin to score the go-ahead run from second base. After Powers walked for runners on first and third, sophomore Taylor Gushue delivered a sacrifice fly to the warning track in left field to bring home Turgeon with the Gators’ third run. Ramjit came through with a two-out RBI single to score Powers and Bader tallied his first career RBI with his first triple to drive in Ramjit and end the afternoon for Suarez (2.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R) in favor of senior Eric Whaley.

The Gators increased their lead to 6-1 in the fourth on a two-out RBI double by Shafer. Reid led off with his first career double to right field and was sacrificed to third on a bunt by senior pinch hitter Cody Dent. Shafer came through with a two-bagger to center field and advanced to third on an error by Eusebio.

After a one-out single by Lopez and a walk to sophomore Garrett Kennedy in the fifth, Hanhold (4.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R) was replaced by Carmichael. The rookie struck out Eusebio and then Hernandez singled into center field to score Lopez for a 6-2 count. Mack was plunked to load the bases with two down and freshman David Thompson was called out at close play at first base to complete the frame.

In the seventh, Kennedy walked with one down and sophomore Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) was summoned from the bullpen for Carmichael (2.0 IP, 1 H). After Eusebio singled through the left side, Harris had Hernandez ground into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play to end the threat. 

Kennedy finalized the scoring in the ninth at 6-3 with a two-out solo homer off of sophomore Johnny Magliozzi. UF had a 9-6 advantage in hits and did not commit any errors this afternoon.