Final: Florida 7, Miami 5
For at least one night, a lot of things seemed “normal” once again Friday night.
Florida baseball beat Miami for the eighteenth time in twenty-two outings and a rain storm kept delaying the first pitch and the opening of a brand new stadium.
The Gators are now 1-0 on the season after holding on to a 7-5 win that got much too dicey in the ninth inning.
Friday also represented the opening of the Gators’ new home, Florida Ballpark. Despite a socially distanced crowd, the Gators brought a ton of energy from the start. RHP Tommy Mace opened the season by retiring the side in order in the first inning and catcher Nathan Hickey blasted a solo shot to right that carried just past the fence in right.
Miami did answer in the second as Mace struggled at locating his pitches early on. Christian Del Castillo delivered a RBI single to tie the game.
Mace was able to get out of the jam and kept Florida knotted up while the offense adjusted to Miami starter Federman.
The third time through the order saw the Gators strike. Florida put up three runs in the fifth and another in the sixth. SS Josh Rivera tripled to lead off the inning and scored on a seeing-eye single by Jacob Young, who extended his hitting streak to 19 games. Hickey then sent a ball down the right field line to score two more. The ball ended up bouncing into the berm for a ground rule double.
In the eighth Kris Armstrong crushed a ball to right that got out in a hurry and extended the Florida lead to 7-1.
Christian Scott tossed three good innings in relief and turned the ball over to freshman Chase Centala, who was unable to record an out and loaded the bases. Ben Specht was called on for the unenviable situation, but was only able to record one out while letting all three inherited runners to score. Finally Franco Aleman came in and closed the game, but it certainly was much closer than it should have been.