Gainesville, FL – The Gators baseball team hosted the Yale Bulldogs in a three game set over the weekend and came away with a series sweep, winning all three games. With the series, Florida improves to 13-5 on the season.
The weekend began when Tommy Mace (4-0) continued his hot start, gaining his fourth win of the season. Mace was solid through six innings but Kevin O’Sullivan called on Hunter Ruth to relieve the sophomore after Yale’s Griffin Dey hit a two-run double in the seventh.
Ruth did quite well in limited action as he retired each of the five batters that he faced before handing it over to Nolan Crisp, who went on to earn his seventh save of the season, in the ninth.
Brady McConnell went yard in the bottom of the seventh, extending the Gators lead just enough to remain beyond the reach of Yale’s comeback rally. The moonshot went beyond the wall in left center field and extended McConnell’s hitting streak to twelve games.
Nelson Maldonaldo recorded a two-run homer in the third inning, his first of the season. It was his first at bat that was the most significant, however. Although the RBI single may not get quite the same crowd response as the homerun, it marked his 200th career hit. This capped a pretty good night for Maldonado as he went 2-for-4 at the plate and brought in three RBI’s.
Coach Sully was quick to heap praise on his senior standout, saying, “We won by one run, every run counts. Nelly’s been a really good hitter for us for three-plus years now. I’m excited for him. I’ve got to congratulate him on his 200th hit. Like I said, all the at bats matter and you never know which one is going to come back to help you, or not help you, when the final out is made.”
In all, the Gators recorded twelve hits and two errors on their way to a hard fought 6-5 victory in game one.
Game two wasn’t as competitive as the first with the Gators cruising to a 15-1 win. Jack Leftwich improved to a perfect 4-0 on the year, giving up eight hits and striking out five through five innings.
For the second game in a row, Nelson Maldonaldo recorded a homerun, helping the Gators to an early lead in the second. Not to be outdone, Jud Fabian also went yard, extending the lead to three while also remaining as the team’s homerun leader with three.
Freshman Roberto Peña recorded the first RBI single of his career, in the third inning as the Gators added to their lead.
In the fifth inning, Yale finally got on the board when Mason LaPlante reeled off an RBI double. Leftwich however, limited the damage, escaping the inning having allowed only the lone run.
It was in the bottom of the fifth that Florida exploded for eight runs and blew the game wide open. Eight of nine batters got on base and scored for the Gators, including Jacob Young, Jordan Butler, and Austin Langworthy.
In the past two weeks, Nelson Maldonaldo has a .500 batting average and has struck out only twice in thirty-five plate appearances during that time. Meanwhile, Florida’s offense recorded thirty hits in the first two games of this weekend series.
Game three proved to be another tough out for the Gators but they managed to pull it out once again, winning 4-3. Throughout the series, Yale never had a lead on Florida.
Tyler Dyson (2-0) is credited with the win and was relieved in the sixth by Hunter Ruth. Ruth earned his first save by striking out the side in the ninth inning.
Freshman Jud Fabian hit a pair of homeruns and Jordan Butler recorded a two-run double to account for Florida’s offensive production on the day.
The Gators will take on Florida State this week, before opening their SEC schedule against Miss State over the weekend.