GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Behind freshman JJ Schwarz’s (2-for-4) triple, home run and three RBI, No. 4 Florida (15-2) defeated Fairfield (0-4) 8-7 on Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium.
UF used seven pitchers and began the night with junior Eric Hanhold (1-0), who recorded his first win since March 15, 2014 against Arkansas. Tonight marked the first meeting between the two schools.
UF opened the scoring in bottom of the third inning on sophomore Ryan Larson’s (2-for-3) sacrifice fly, which scored freshman Christian Hicks (2-for-4) who had singled to lead off the inning. The Gators then loaded the bases on pair of singles and a walk over the next four batters walk that, which allowed the scorching-hot senior Josh Tobias to come up to the plate in a key situation.
Tobias delivered with a single up the middle, extending his career-best hitting streak to nine games, and scoring two runs to give UF a 3-0 advantage heading to the fourth.
After a pre-planned pitching change that brought sophomore Kirby Snead into the game in the top of the fourth, Fairfield jumped on the sophomore early as the Stags’ first two hitters, Mac Crispino and Jake Salpietro recorded a single and home run to bring then within one run at 3-2.
Florida extended its lead with a pair of insurance runs in the fifth and three in the seventh.
In the fifth, freshman Dalton Guthrie (2-for-4) led off the frame with his team-leading eighth double of the season. He then advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on groundout by junior Richie Martin. Later in the inning, sophomore Buddy Reed (2-for-4) doubled and then scored on Schwarz’ second triple of the season. Reed had a pair of doubles.
In the seventh, the Gators scored their last three runs of the evening as Reed recorded his second two-bagger of the evening which scored Martin, who led off the frame with a single. Schwarz followed their lead as he drilled his fourth home run of the season to leftfield extending the Gator lead to 8-2.
Undaunted, Fairfield pulled the game within one run at 8-7 after scoring five runs in the top of the eighth inning on four hits. Despite the rally, UF was able to hold on and win the game by that count. Junior RHP Taylor Lewis entered the game in eighth with one out and two runners on, but was able to stop the bleeding and get UF back in the dugout with the lead.
Lewis then tossed a scoreless ninth inning to record his fifth save of the season.
On the bump after Snead, juniors Aaron Rhodes (RHP) and Danny Young (LHP), Anderson, sophomore LHP Tyler Deel and Lewis combined to throw the final five innings for the Gators.