No. 5 Gators defeat Ospreys in comeback victory
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - No. 6 Florida delivered its seventh-straight victory with a come-from-behind, 7-2 win over North Florida at Condron Family Ballpark on Tuesday night.
The Ospreys (10-8) put one run on the Gators (16-3) in the top of the first. UNF quickly placed runners at the corners on a leadoff hit-by-pitch by Aidan Sweatt and a single from Fletcher Cline, with Sweatt scoring on an RBI groundout to shortstop by Jakob Runnels.
After a scoreless second, North Florida added another run in the third on an RBI double down the left-field line off the bat of Cade Reich to make it 2-0.
Florida went down in order in the first four innings, but erupted for a four-run frame in the fifth. Ty Evans drove in Josh Rivera with an infield single to start it off while a two-run triple by Rene Lastres provided the biggest blow. Michael Robertson polished off the outburst with a single to right to plate Lastres.
With a newfound 4-2 advantage, reliever Nick Ficarrotta took over on the mound. The right-hander worked a clean frame to turn the lineup card over to the bottom half, where the Gators tacked on three more runs. Evans drove in two with an RBI single to left, then came in to score on a double-steal play with runners at the corners.
Ficarrotta was excellent out of the pen. He blanked the Ospreys across three innings while allowing just one hit and striking out a pair. Brandon Neely relieved him in the ninth to close out the matchup and worked a scoreless frame to secure the Gators' seventh-straight win.
Right-hander Fisher Jameson (1-3) earned the victory, firing three innings with one earned run allowed on four hits. He struck out three.
Florida starter Tyler Nesbitt was handed a no-decision, allowing one earned run in two innings of work. The right-hander allowed three hits and struck out two.
UNF starting pitcher Clayton Boroski received the loss after allowing three earned runs on two hits and one walk in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out three.
- Evans produced his team-leading eighth multi-RBI game of the season.
- Ficarrotta pitched a season-high three scoreless innings.
- Lastres recorded his first-career game-winning RBI on his first-career triple.
- Florida saw its streak of homering in 15-consecutive games come to an end, which marked the Gators' longest such streak in the last 25 years.
- Rivera extended his team-leading reached base streak to 19 games. Two other Gators also have double-digit reached base streaks: Caglianone (18) and Robertson (16) Kurland's 17-game streak came to an end on Tuesday.
- Florida has struck out 217 batters in 160 innings - translating to 12.2 per nine innings.
- Through 19 games, Florida has a run differential of plus-120. The Gators have scored in 86 of 150 batted innings this season (57.3%).
- The Gators have a nation-leading 228 hits through 19 games (12.0 hits/game).
- The Gators improve to 18-7 against UNF including 14-4 at home. The Gators are 18-5 vs. the Ospreys under Head Coach Kevin O'Sullivan including a 14-3 mark at home.
FROM HEAD COACH KEVIN O'SULLIVAN
On Lastres' performance...
"I think the big at bat was the one by Rene. I think he played really well tonight. Blocked a lot of balls in the dirt, threw out a guy at second, obviously hit the triple that opened it up. It was a great game for Rene and I'm happy he had the opportunity to do that."
On the bullpen...
"Fisher came in and threw the ball well. The bottom line with his outing is that he made some pitches with runners on and that's something we haven't been doing. Fic was outstanding, kept his pitch count down... [Brandon Neely] threw some really good hard cutters and commanded the ball."
On Luke Heyman's status...
"He's feeling much better. We're going to wait until Thursday to see whether he's on the 27-man, but he took batting practice today. He's feeling a lot better."
Florida opens SEC play with a three-game series against No. 24 Alabama spanning from Thursday, March 16 through Sunday, March 18. Thursday's series finale airs on SEC Network at 7 p.m.