The Florida Gators picked up their fifth of the season in walk off fashion on Tuesday. True freshman Isaac Nunez came up to the plate with runners on first and second and two down.
Nunez fell behind in the count but still drove the ball to right center field scoring the game-winning run. It was Florida’s first walk off and extra innings win of the season.
After a subpar performance by Jordan Butler, the Gators bullpen kept it together and also kept the Dolphins off the scoreboard.
The first inning was a big inning for the Jacksonville Dolphins. They scored all three of their runs with one swing of the bat. Scott Dubrule reached second base on an error by Austin Langworthy. With two outs, Corey Heffron drew a walk and then came up Christian Coipel. The Miami native homered to right field to give Jacksonville an early 3-0 advantage.
Florida would begin to cut into Jacksonville’s lead in the bottom of the second. Sophomore Kendrick Calilao knocked a liner to center field for a single. Freshman Nathan Hickey would also single up the middle, moving Calilao to third. Next, Brady Smith would loft a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Calilao.
After recording the first out of the third, Jordan Butler was pulled from the game. Butler threw 2.1 innings, allowing two hits, three runs (none earned), one walk and recorded one strikeout. Freshman Tyler Nesbitt would come in relief.
After a clean top of the third, Florida added another run to make it 3-2. Jud Fabian led the inning off with a double down the left field line. Austin Langworthy then singled but Fabian was held at third. Kirby McMullen struck out swinging but the ball went past the catcher and allowed Fabian to score on the passed ball.
Nesbitt would be pulled after giving up a leadoff hit in the top of the fifth. His line: 1.2 innings allowing two hits, no runs, no walks and two strikeouts. Nesbitt was replaced by another freshman in left-handed pitcher Ryan Cabarcas.
After a strong inning, Cabarcas got wild and was immediately taken out of the game. Cabarcas pitched one inning allowing no hits, no runs, one walk and a strikeout. Cabarcas was replaced by sophomore David Luethje.
The Gators tied the game in the bottom of the fifth thanks to Fabian’s leadoff solo home run. It was Fabian’s second home run of the season.
Both Florida and Jacksonville had their chances to take the lead but neither team was able to get the hits when they needed them most.
Luethje had a quick appearance as he pitched 1.1 innings allowing one hit, no runs, no walks and one strikeout. Luethje was replaced by another sophomore in Ben Specht.
Florida had a terrific opportunity to take the lead in the bottom of the seventh. The bases were loaded with one out and Kendrick Calilao coming to the plate. Calilao came up many times in clutch situations and would usually pull through. However, Calilao didn’t come through as he grounded into a 4-6-3 rally killing double play.
Jacksonville came close to scoring in the top of the eighth and ninth innings but couldn’t prevail. Ben Specht had an outstanding night as he tossed 2.2 innings allowing no hits, no runs, two walks and two strikeouts. Specht was replaced by Florida’s Sunday starter Nick Pogue.
Pogue held it down in the top of the tenth, setting up the drama. He only threw the one inning allowing a hit, a walk but struck out two.
The bottom of the tenth started off with two quick outs for the Gators. It looked like the game was going into the eleventh inning. Catcher Nathan Hickey worked a full count and then draw a walk. Cal Greenfield came in as a pinch runner for Hickey. Brady Smith also worked the count full and drew a walk.
With runners on second and first and two down, the freshman Isaac Nunez came to the plate. It was Nunez’s first at bat of the night as he came in a defensive substitution at shortstop.
Jacksonville’s pitcher Chris Mauloni got Nunez into an 0-2 count. Mauloni tried to pitch Nunez outside but left it a little over the plate. Nunez went with the pitch and lined the game winning hit over the second baseman’s glove as the Florida dugout erupted and charged onto the field to attack their freshman.
The Florida Gators will take a day off before taking on the #1 Miami Hurricanes. On D1 Baseball, Miami is the #1 team in the country and Florida is the #2 team. This will be Florida’s first road weekend series of the 2020 season.
Junior right-handed pitcher Tommy Mace will be on the mound for the Florida Gators. Redshirt-senior right-handed pitcher Brian Van Belle will get the start for the Miami Hurricanes. You can watch this game Friday night at 7 pm ET on the ACC Network Extra.