Final: Florida 2, USF 1

Photo by Kristen Oliff / ChompTalk.com

Florida baseball is off to a 16-0 start after sweeping a weekend series from South Florida. The sweep was capped with a 2-1 decision over the Bulls on Sunday.

How It Happened:

After combining for twenty runs the day before, the Gators and Bulls engaged in a pitcher’s duel.

It wasn’t until the fourth inning that a run would finally cross the plate, and even that had to be manufactured in an unusual way.

After a pair of strikeouts to lead off the frame, Jacob Young extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a single up the middle. Nathan Hickey followed with a single to left that put runners on the corners.

After a stolen base by Hickey, Kendrick Calilao struck out, but the pitch got behind the catcher – all the way to the backstop – allowing Young to score and Calilao to claim his spot on first base.

South Florida tied it up in the sixth on a double from JD Dutka that scored Nick Gonzalez. The hit glanced off Kirby McMullen’s glove at third and banked into foul territory, allowing the run to score easily.

In the bottom of the eighth, Florida took the lead as Hickey took flight. For the fourth straight game, Hickey crushed a home run, despite the wind blowing in. His solo shot banked off the scoreboard in right.

But pitching ruled the day. Hunter Barco started the game shaky, allowing a walk in the first and second and even committing an error to put two runners in scoring position in the second.

But he settled in by retiring the side in order in the third, fourth, and fifth before giving up a run in the sixth.

Christian Scott provided two solid innings of relief, not allowing a hit and Ben Specht tossed the ninth to earn his third save.

Individual Stats:

  • Barco: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 7 K, 2 BB
  • Bullpen: 3 IP, 1 H, 2 K, 1 BB
  • Hickey: 2-3, HR, RBI, R, BB

Pitching Decision:

  • W: Christian Scott (2-0)
  • L: Orion Kerkering (0-1)
  • S: Ben Specht (3)

What’s Next:

As one Twitter follower suggested, Spring Training is now complete. The Gators will host in-state rival Florida State on Tuesday before opening SEC play at the Mac against Georgia over the weekend.

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