The second ranked Florida Gators used strong pitching, good defense and a few timely hits to defeat the Florida State Seminoles, 8-2 on Tuesday at Dick Howser Stadium. Florida’s victory completed a three-game season sweep over the Seminoles.
Gator shortstop Dalton Guthrie made a huge difference in the game with both his bat and his glove, knocking in two runs and preserving a late-inning lead for Florida with a fine defensive play.
Freshman Jackson Kowar started for the second time this season against Florida State. On Tuesday, he limited FSU to three hits and only one run over four innings while striking out seven. On March 29 he was the winning pitcher in Florida’s 3-2 victory in Jacksonville.
“Florida did another exceptional job of playing this great game after committing no errors with their impressive infield,” said Seminoles Coach Mike Martin. “Everyone from their third baseman to the first baseman played a game that the team that won deserved to win.”
Picking up the win was Frank Rubio, who pitched the fifth and sixth innings, allowing one run. He is now 2-0. Jim Voyles took the loss for the Seminoles, allowing single runs in both of his two innings of work.
The Gators jumped on top in the first inning. Guthrie singled, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundout by Buddy Reed. In the second, Jeremy Vasquez singled and scored on Guthrie’s RBI double to make it 2-0.
Guthrie struck again in the fourth, knocking in Nelson Maldonado, who was hit by a pitch and moved into scoring position on a wild pickoff attempt by Chase Haney. The Seminoles answered with a Jackson Lueck homer to right center.
J.J. Schwarz made it 4-1 in the fifth with an RBI single. After the Seminoles made it 4-2 in the seventh inning, the key play of the game occurred.
With the tying runs on second and third, Dylan Busby lined one over shortstop, but Guthrie made a leaping stab to preserve the Florida lead.
Schwarz led off the eighth inning with a homer to left, making it 5-2. Florida tacked on three runs in the ninth, two on bases-loaded walks, to put the game away.
“To come up here on a Tuesday and hold them to two runs and make some pitches when we needed to says a lot about our team,” said Gator Coach Kevin O’Sullivan. “When J.J. is swinging the bat like like he did tonight and Pete Alonzo is, it’s pretty impressive and Dalton had three hits.
Florida improved to 30-5 on the season, bouncing back from losing two out of three at home to Mississippi State over the weekend. Sixth-ranked Florida State falls to 22-9 after taking two of three from then-fourth ranked Louisville this past weekend.
Tuesday’s victory extended the Florida winning streak over Florida State to five. Florida and Florida State fans alike will remember last year’s two-game sweep in the NCAA Super Regional far more than the three mid-week games this season.
The Seminoles get back into conference play this weekend, traveling to Wake Forest for a three game series. The Gators play a three-game series at Arkansas beginning Thursday.