Friday March 1, 2013No. 21 Miami Nips Florida, 3-2, To Take Series Opener
Freshman David Thompson (2-for-5) delivered a two-out RBI single up the middle in the ninth inning that brought home senior Chantz Mack (2-for-3) with the winning run as No. 21 Miami (10-0), edged Florida (3-7), 3-2, on Friday night at McKethan Stadium in the opener of the Sunshine State rivals’ weekend set. The victory ended an 11-game losing streak in the series for the Hurricanes after the Gators had tied the game with a pair of runs in the eighth.
With the teams deadlocked at 2-2 entering the ninth, UF freshman right-hander Jay Carmichael (Cape Coral, Fla.) (0-1) struck out junior Tyler Palmer and junior Alex Hernandez. Mack halted a stretch of eight consecutive Hurricanes set down by the rookie with a single into right field and then moved into scoring position with his first stolen base of the season. Thompson broke the stalemate by slicing a 2-2 pitch into center field to put Miami back on top.
“I thought [Jay] Carmichael was throwing the ball well and whether or not we were going to go to Mags [Johnny Magliozzi] there, but I wanted to see if we could get a lead,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “There wasn’t a point in time where I thought he [Carmichael] was in trouble. I thought we played really good defense tonight. Once again, we need a big hit and we haven’t been able to get one. There are three things that stick out in my mind throughout the course of the game: bases loaded in the first, we had a 2-0 count, we take [the pitch] and we don’t swing when we’ve been dying to get a hit – we don’t cut the barrel loose. Next thing you know, it’s 2-2 and we fly out to right. He’s [Chris Diaz] not going to walk you there; he’s a Friday night starter for a reason.”
Junior AJ Salcines worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth to collect his second save and secure the victory for senior Eric Nedeljkovic (2-0). The triumph was the first for UM over the Gators since March 6, 2010, in Coral Gables (9-6). Senior Alex San Juan (2-for-4) had opened the scoring in the fourth with a two-run homer and Hurricane sophomore southpaw Chris Diaz tossed seven shutout innings but was not involved in the decision.
Miami threatened in the first inning against junior Jonathon Crawford (Okeechobee, Fla.), as Palmer led off the game with a double down the right-field line and Mack drew a one-out walk. However, the righty had Thompson ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
The Gators mounted a two-out rally in the home part of the frame, as sophomore Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) (3-for-4) singled to extend his hitting streak to a career-high eight games, redshirt sophomore Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) had a base-hit into left field and sophomore Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) drew a walk. Diaz kept the game scoreless by having senior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) fly out to right field.
Crawford retired the first two batters of the second inning before San Juan’s liner into center field was ruled a hit instead of a catch by freshman Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.). Junior Drew Carey earned a free pass and freshman Brandon Lopez (3-for-4) singled into left field to fill the bags with two down for the Hurricanes. Crawford had a grounder by Palmer force Lopez at second base to end the frame.
San Juan provided Miami with a 2-0 lead in the fourth with his first career homer. Junior Brad Fieger had opened the frame with a double to left field and San Juan connected on a big fly to left field with one down to break the ice.
Mack was hit by a pitch to start the fifth and Thompson followed with a single into left field. A sacrifice bunt attempt by Fieger resulted in Mack being thrown out at third base and Crawford kept the Gators’ deficit at two runs by striking out senior Michael Broad and having San Juan pop up to freshman shortstop Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.).
Lopez had a one-out single in the sixth but a fly-out by Palmer resulted in a double play when redshirt freshman right fielder Cory Reid (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) threw to Ramjit covering first base.
After Gushue began the home part of the inning with a base-hit, Diaz had Ramjit hit into a 5-4-3 double play and Bader reached on a throwing error by Lopez. Diaz had a grounder by sophomore Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) force Bader at second base to complete the inning.
Junior Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) replaced Crawford (season-high 6.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R) prior to the seventh and hit junior Alex Hernandez to start things off. Mack punched a single into right field and Carmichael took over for Gibson. The rookie struck out Thompson, had Fieger fly out to left field and induced an inning-ending grounder by Broad that preserved the 2-0 score.
“I’m really pleased,” O’Sullivan said of Crawford’s outing tonight. “If he can go out there and give us six innings of two-run ball, I feel really good about it. I thought he threw the ball really well. He threw big pitches when he needed to.”
Martin raised his hitting streak to seven games with a one-out single into left field in the bottom of the seventh. However, Diaz had Turgeon fly out and Shafer line out to end the stanza.
Following seven shutout innings by Diaz in which he scattered eight singles, the Gators battled back with two runs to tie the game. Junior Bryan Radziewski took over on the mound and issued a leadoff walk to Powers. A passed ball by San Juan enabled Powers to move into scoring position and Radziewski struck out Gushue. Ramjit cut the deficit in half with an RBI single into left field and went to second base on the relay throw to the plate. Radziewski had Bader fly out to left field for the second out and Nedeljkovic was summoned from the bullpen. On the ninth pitch of freshman pinch hitter Christian Dicks’ (Jacksonville, Fla.) at bat, the reliever induced a pop-up that Lopez dropped, enabling Ramjit to come home with the tying run.
Miami held an 11-9 advantage in hits and the Gators did not commit any errors for the fourth time in the last five games. Led by Shafer’s second three-hit output in a row, seven different Florida players chipped in with at least one hit.
The Gators and Hurricanes will meet again tomorrow at 7:30 p.m., with freshman Tucker Simpson (Oxford, Ala.) (0-1, 4.15) opposing junior Javi Salas (2-0, 0.00). The game can be seen live on Sun Sports with Nick Belmonte and Mick Hubert, can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell and will be streamed live on GatorVision.
· The game featured a former Hurricane playing for the Gators (Vickash Ramjit) and a former Gator playing for the Hurricanes (Tyler Palmer).
· Friday’s win for Miami snapped an 11-game slide to Florida.
· Harrison Bader made his first career start in center field for the Gators against Miami.
· Justin Shafer extended his hitting streak to a career-high eight games Friday night with a single in the first inning.
· Zack Powers notched a hit in his third-straight game with a two-out single in the first inning.
· Shafer tied his career-high for hits in a game for the second-straight outing, as he went 3-for-4 against the Hurricanes.
· The three-hit game for Shafer was the third of his career.
· With his three-hit game, Shafer is now 5-for-8 (.625) against Miami in his career.
· Catcher Taylor Gushue extended his hitting streak to three games with a single in the sixth inning.
· Crawford’s final line for the night: 6.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K.
· The 6.0 innings pitched for Crawford was a season-high for the junior.
· With his single in the seventh inning, freshman Richie Martin extended his hitting streak to eight games.
· Martin has reached base in some fashion in every game this season (10 games).
· Relief pitcher Jay Carmichael threw a career-high 3.0 innings, to go along with a career-high five strikeouts.
· Carmichael set down eight-straight batters after entering the game before allowing his first base-runner.
· The five strikeouts for Carmichael was also a game-high for any Gator pitcher this season for one outing.
· All of the Gators’ hits Friday night were singles (9 hits).