The No. 1 Florida State Seminoles dropped a midweek game to their rival Florida Gators Tuesday, losing 3-1 in a pitching-dominated tilt.
FSU threatened in the first inning, as Justin Gonzalez and D.J. Stewart singled, but Brett Knief grounded into an inning-ending double play. The ‘Noles looked primed to score again in the top of the third, loading the bases with nobody out on singles from Danny De La Calle and Josh Delph and a walk to Justin Gonzalez. But a foul out, strike out, and ground out kept things knotted at zero. The Gators did get on the board in the inning’s bottom half, claiming a 1-0 lead on Josh Tobias’ solo home run.
The Seminoles had plenty of early traffic on the base paths, notching six hits against UF starter Danny Young, before he gave way to reliever Aaron Rhodes in the fourth. Jose Brizuela finally got to the exceptional Florida pitcher in the sixth, tying the score at 1-1 on a home run of his own.
Other than the lone long ball he surrendered, Florida State starter Peter Miller was excellent, allowing just three hits through 5.1 frames, while striking out five. He allowed a double to Richie Martin in the sixth before being replaced by Bryant Holtmann, against whom Harrison Bader tripled, which reclaimed the Gator lead at 2-1. A sacrifice fly from Taylor Gushue brought Bader home, and the UF advantage was 3-1.
Bobby Poyner took the hill for UF after De La Calle singled off Rhodes, and Poyner proceeded to retire the next three ‘Noles in the seventh. After a Braden Mattson strikeout, Justin Shafer got Florida going in the home half of the inning with a bunt single, prompting Mike Martin to call on “Every Game” Gage Smith, who was his usual dependable self, extinguishing the Gator threat.
After an uneventful Seminole eighth, UF loaded the bases in their half of the inning, but Smith again escaped unscathed. However, FSU couldn’t muster any offense in the ninth, and Florida took the first of three scheduled contests against Florida State this season. The evening was plagued by missed opportunities for FSU, which outhit UF 9-6. The teams meet again on March 25th in Jacksonville, before the ‘Noles host the Gators in Tallahassee on April 8th.
Next up for the 17-3 Seminoles is a weekend series at No. 17 Clemson, which commences Friday.