GAINESVILLE, Fla.--The pitching duel lived up to the hype but Alex Faedo stole the spotlight with 8.2 shutout innings to lead Florida to a 1-0 win over South Carolina on Thursday night at McKethan Stadium.
Florida (26-12, 9-7 SEC) produced its lone run in the fifth inning on a two-out RBI single from freshman Keenan Bell and shut down South Carolina (23-14, 8-8 SEC) the rest of the way.
The story of the night was on the mound.
Faedo was nearly untouchable, allowing just three hits while striking out nine to improve to 6-1 on the season. He threw a career-high 125 pitches.
The Gators have now played 20 one-run games on the season with a 13-7 record. UF has four 1-0 wins on the year, three of them coming in starts by Faedo (vs. Miami, vs. LSU, vs. SC), and seven total shutouts.
On the opposite side, South Carolina's Clarke Schmidt almost matched Faedo. He allowed four hits and one run before he left the game with right forearm soreness in the sixth inning.
Florida used a pair of two-out hits in the bottom of the fifth inning to score the game's only run. Christian Hicks launched a ball to left that reached the wall for a double. Bell provided the heroics with a RBI single back up the middle that scored Hicks from second.
Faedo exited in the ninth after allowing a two-out walk. Sophomore Michael Byrne entered and got the final out on two pitches for his seventh save of the season.
The series continues Friday night at 7 p.m. and will air live on SEC Network. Saturday's finale is at noon on ESPN2.
Head Coach Kevin O'Sullivan
"Alex had a heck of a performance tonight. It speaks for itself. He was outstanding, and he had to be against Clarke [Schmidt], I hope he's ok. Alex was great. He pitched around a couple situations where he needed to. He needed to be that way, because Clarke is that good, and we knew that going in that this was going to be a low-scoring game. They brought in some other guys with different looks, that type of thing.
"It was just a heck of a ball game. Another Friday night-type game in this league. I was talking to Coach Holbrook before the game, it's just amazing. People get frustrated with the offense but the pitching in this league is just so good in this league. It seems like every Friday night you're going to be facing guys that are potential big leaguers. It's gotten that much better. Runs are hard to come by, and when you have opportunities to score you've got to have your best at bats. We scored with two outs and nobody on, Christian put a nice swing on the ball off the wall into the wind. Keenan Bell had a couple hits tonight, hit a ball back through the middle [to score the run]. That's big for a freshman to be able to do that against a guy the caliber of Clarke Schmidt.
"Dalton had a nice night at the plate with a couple hits. I thought Nelly had some good at bats, walked twice. I think we only struck out [two] times against Clarke. I thought we did a nice job. Even though the score was 1-0, I thought our bats were good against a really good pitcher."