Tobias' ninth inning sac-fly sends Florida to 4-3 win at No. 6 Florida State
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Sophomore Josh Tobias snapped a 3-3 tie with a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning to drive in freshman Harrison Bader with the decisive run as Florida (16-18) edged No. 6 Florida State (27-6) 4-3 in front of a crowd of 6,719 fans on Tuesday night at Dick Howser Stadium, the fifth-largest crowd in school history. It marked the second year in a row that the Gators had emerged victorious in Tallahassee.
Bader (2-for-4, three runs) had reached on a leadoff throwing error by sophomore third baseman Jose Brizuela, taken second on the play and gone to third on a failed pickoff attempt by junior Robby Coles (2-1). Tobias’ second sac fly of the year moved the Gators in front and junior Daniel Gibson (1-0) retired the Seminoles in order in the ninth to collect his first win of the season and help UF take the finale of the teams’ regular-season meetings after coming up short in the first two outings.
Florida State had seized a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a two-out RBI double by junior Marcus Davis. Making his first start since March 13, 2012, also against the Seminoles, sophomore left-hander Bobby Poyner started the frame with a strikeout of redshirt junior Brett Knief for his first K of the season. Freshman DJ Stewart (3-for-4, two runs) followed with a base-hit up the middle and Poyner caught redshirt junior Stephen McGee looking on the strikes for the second out. Davis roped his team-leading 13th double of the campaign into right center field to open the scoring.
The Gators knotted the score at 1-1 on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by freshman Richie Martin in the third inning. Seminoles junior righty Peter Miller retired the first seven Gators of the contest before Bader and senior Cody Dent had back-to-back singles with one down. Sophomore Casey Turgeon worked a walk on a full count to load the bases and Martin’s first collegiate sac fly into right field brought home Bader with the tying run. Dent was thrown out at third base as part of an attempted double steal to end the inning.
Although Stewart led off the home part of the third with a double to left field, Poyner stranded him there on a pair of grounders by McGee and Davis and a lineout by sophomore John Nogowski to redshirt sophomore third baseman Zack Powers.
Martin provided the Gators with a 2-1 lead in the fifth on a two-out double into right field. Miller had recorded the first two outs of the frame before issuing a free pass to Dent. Turgeon poked a single into right field and Martin’s second two-bagger of the year into right field scored Dent and moved Turgeon to third. Miller worked out of further trouble by having sophomore Taylor Gushue ground out to first base.
Poyner matched his career-long stint of four innings, scattering four hits, yielding one run and totaling three strikeouts, before sophomore Justin Shafer took over on the mound. Shafer struck out Knief but then Stewart connected on a game-tying homer over the fence in right field to even the game at 2-2 on his fourth big fly of the season. Bader ended the stanza with a leaping grab at the left-field wall to rob Davis of a round-tripper.
Redshirt junior Gage Smith replaced Miller (5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R) prior to the sixth and plunked Powers with one down before having senior Vickash Ramjit hit into a 5-4-3 double play. Junior Casey Smit had a pinch-hit single through the right side of the infield to open FSU’s sixth and moved to second on a grounder by sophomore Giovanny Alfonzo that was the second out of the inning. Sophomore Ryan Harris was summoned from the bullpen for Shafer (1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R) and uncorked a wild pitch that pushed Smith to third base. Freshman Jameis Winston (2-for-3) put the hosts on top, 3-2, with a double into right center but was thrown out at third base to complete the inning.
The Gators answered with the tying run in the seventh on a two-out passed ball that scored Bader. Bader had collected his second hit of the night with a single into right field and sophomore Billy Strode came in for Smith (1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R) and had pinch hitter Tobias line out to center field. Bader moved into scoring position with his team-leading sixth stolen base and took third on a throwing error by McGee. The rookie scampered home on a passed ball to square the affair at 3-3.
Winston replaced Strode (0.2 IP) on the mound to begin the eighth and mishandled Martin’s bunt for a fielding error to start the frame. After Gushue flew out to right field, Shafer singled into left field to move Martin to third base and went to second on the relay throw. The Seminoles elected to walk Powers intentionally to load the bases with one out and Coles kept the game tied by having Ramjit pop up to second base and sophomore Connor Mitchell ground out to first base.
In the bottom of the frame, McGee led off with a base-hit to center field, prompting a pitching change. Gibson came in for Harris (1.1 IP, 2 H) and had Davis fly out to left center. After issuing a walk to Smit, Gibson uncorked a wild pitch that advanced McGee to third base. With runners on the corners and one down, Gibson induced an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play by Brizuela.
Bader reached on a throwing error by Brizuela to begin the ninth and wound up on second base. A failed pickoff attempt by Coles enabled Bader to take third with none out and Tobias delivered a sacrifice fly into right field to give the Gators a 4-3 advantage. Florida State held an 8-7 advantage in hits but committed four errors, compared to zero for the Gators.