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The Gators celebrate after their 3-1 win over No. 1-ranked FSU on Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium.

Tuesday March 18, 2014Florida Baseball Knocks Off No. 1 Florida State

Gainesville, Fla.

The Gators celebrate after their 3-1 win over No. 1-ranked FSU on Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium.

Sophomore Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) snapped a 1-1 tie with an RBI triple in the sixth inning and junior Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.) closed the contest with three perfect innings as Florida (14-7) downed No. 1 Florida State (17-3), 3-1, on Tuesday night in front of a season-high 5,657 fans at McKethan Stadium.

 

It was the Gators’ first triumph over a top-ranked team since a 6-3 decision over the Seminoles on April 10, 2012, in Tallahassee and head coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s club has claimed eight of its last nine outings.  

 

Sophomore righty Aaron Rhodes (Venice, Fla.) (2-0) limited the high-powered FSU offense to one run over three innings and totaled four strikeouts to earn the win, junior Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) opened the scoring with his first homer of the year in the third and junior Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth.

 

Although Florida State loaded the bases with none out in the third, sophomore starter Danny Young (Boca Raton, Fla.) kept the game scoreless by retiring sophomore DJ Stewart (foul pop up), redshirt senior Brett Knief (strikeout) and junior John Nogowski (grounder). Young tossed three scoreless frames, with six hits and two strikeouts.

 

After making a strong defensive play to end the top of the third, Tobias led off with a homer into the left-field bleachers to begin the scoring. It was his first dinger since May 11, 2013, against Auburn. Junior Jose Brizuela (3-for-4) later tied the game in the sixth with a one-out solo shot to right field off of Rhodes.

 

In the bottom of the frame, the Gators countered with a pair of runs on an RBI triple by Bader and a sacrifice fly by Gushue to seize a 3-1 advantage. Sophomore Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) started things off with a double into the right-field corner and was sacrificed to third by junior Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.). Junior Bryant Holtmann replaced senior starter Peter Miller (1-1, 5.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 5 K) and surrendered a first-pitch three-bagger to right field to Bader that brought home Martin. Gushue then followed with his team-leading sixth sac fly to right field to plate Bader.

 

After yielding a leadoff single to junior Danny De La Calle (2-for-4) in the seventh, Rhodes was replaced by Poyner, who retired the final nine Seminoles to collect his first career save.

 

The Share A Little Sunshine Showdown, tonight’s Florida vs. Florida State Game was presented by Visit Florida. Share a Little Sunshine is Visit Florida’s campaign to encourage all Floridians to invite their friends and families to Florida to boost tourism and help our state’s economy.

 

Postgame Quotes

Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan

On tonight’s performance and victory over No.1 Florida State:

“I thought Danny (Young) gave us a really good start. Obviously, Aaron (Rhodes) came in and did a heck of a job and (Bobby) Poyner did his thing again. Those three guys just did a fantastic job against a really, really good lineup. Their lineup, one though nine, they grind out at bats; it’s not easy. They don’t chase out of the zone; you have to make pitches. We only walked one guy tonight, no hit by pitches, and we commanded the ball on both sides of the plate.”

 

“Josh (Tobias) ran into a ball there in the third (inning) and gave us the lead. Then, obviously, Richie (Martin) led off the sixth with a double down the right field line, Casey (Turgeon) moved him over with a nice bunt, and then two really good at-bats by Harrison (Bader’s triple) and Taylor (Gushue’s sac fly). Overall, great team victory, good pitching, good defense, and really timely hitting; it was a really good team win.”

 

On the getting out of the third inning when FSU had no outs and the bases loaded:

“That was probably the biggest moment of the game, obviously. Bases loaded, nobody out, and to be in the middle of the order; it was 3-4-5. I can’t say enough about the way he (Danny Young) battled in that inning; it was probably the turning point to be honest with you.”

 

Junior third baseman Josh Tobias

On his first home run of the season:

“It felt really good. I saw a good pitch and just put the barrel on it. I wasn’t trying to do too much with it.”

 

On Danny Young getting out of the third inning despite the bases loaded and no outs:

“I had no fear that Danny wouldn’t get out of that inning. He’s a good pitcher, and he’s lights out when he gets in sticky situations.”

 

Sophomore outfielder Harrison Bader

On his go-ahead RBI triple:

“In that situation it’s a base-hit situation, so I wasn’t trying to do too much. They pulled me aside before the at bat and just said to see the ball up.”

 

On tonight’s win for the Gators:

“Moving forward it gives us a lot of confidence. Pitching was absolutely stellar. There were a bunch of zeroes up there and one run. Danny Young, Aaron Rhodes, and Bobby Poyner did an incredible job again. They’re doing their thing. Hitters are coming around more every game. Those key hits in those key situations are big.”

 

Sophomore left-hander Danny Young

On getting out of the bases loaded jam with no outs:

“I just had to make a pitch. (DJ) Stewart was up, and I got him to fly out. Thank God. It’s tough getting yourself in that trouble. I had to find a way to get out of it.”

 

On if getting out of the jam was a momentum swing for the offense:

“It was huge. I didn’t want to fall behind early in the third inning. You want to put up as many zeroes as you can, and luckily I was able to get out of it.”

 

On Josh Tobias’ throw to first to get out of the third inning:

“Oh, that was huge. I think he got caught a little in between trying to either tag the base or throw to first, but he threw it across and got him. I was happy about it.”

 

Junior left-hander Bobby Poyner

On tonight’s game:

“I’m very happy with how the entire game went tonight. Offensively, timely hitting was great. (Harrison) Bader came up big, and (Josh) Tobias hit one into the bleachers. That was great. Pitching overall was good. Danny (Young) did a great job before me, and (Aaron) Rhodes kept it close. I think overall we did a heck of a job as a club.”

 

Series Snippets

·         Tuesday night’s contest between UF and FSU marked the teams’ 101st meeting in Gainesville, with the Gators holding a 54-47 edge.

·         It was the Gators’ first win over a No.1 ranked team since April 10, 2012.

·         Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan improved to 6-1 against Florida State in Gainesville.

·         Since 2008, 16 of the 23 games between the Gators and Seminoles have been decided by three runs or less.

 

On the mound

·         Sophomore southpaw Danny Young made his second start of the season for the Gators (3.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 K).

·         Young threw first-pitch strikes to the first nine batters he faced.

·         With no outs and bases loaded in the third inning, Young retired the next three batters to preserve the scoreless game.

·         Sophomore right-hander Aaron Rhodes made his 10th appearance of the season by coming in for Young in the fourth inning.

·         After Young had allowed a leadoff single, Rhodes retired the next three batters, keeping the 1-0 Gator lead.

·         In 3.0 innings, Rhodes allowed three hits and struck out four batters while retiring nine of the 12 he faced.

·         Junior lefty Bobby Poyner came into the ballgame in the seventh inning and faced the minimum number of batters over 3.0 innings and retired them all to record his first career save.

 

Tuesday Notables

·         Junior Braden Mattson extended his hitting streak to six games with a single to left field in the second inning.

·         After reaching base on a fielder’s choice, freshman Peter Alonso stole second base to record his first theft as a Gator.

·         In the sixth inning, sophomore Richie Martin sent one down the right line to tally his sixth double of the season.  

·         Junior Casey Turgeon had his fifth sacrifice bunt of the season in the sixth to advance Martin from second base.

·         Sophomore Harrison Bader notched his first RBI of the season with a triple to right field in the sixth inning to score Martin.

·         Bader’s first triple of the season extended his hitting streak to 11 games, which dates back to last season.

·         In the next at-bat, junior Taylor Gushue sent a sacrifice fly deep into right field territory to score Bader and tally his team-leading 16th RBI.

·         In the eighth, freshman Buddy Reed had a bunt single to extend his hitting streak to four games.

·         Turgeon drew his team-leading second intentional walk in the eighth inning.

·         The duo of sophomore Martin (SS) and Turgeon (2B) has started all 21 games at their respective positions.

 

Going Yard

·         Junior Josh Tobias hit one out of the park in the third inning to give the Gators a 1-0 lead.

·         It was Tobias’ first homerun of the season and first since May 11, 2013, when he hit one against Auburn.

·         He is now the fourth Gator to homer this season.

·         The Gators improved to 5-0 this year when homering.

 

Up Next

The Gators will head to College Station for a three-game series at Texas A&M (14-7/1-2 SEC) that begins on Friday night. The series be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell and will be streamed on GatorVision through GatorZone.com with Texas A&M’s announce team.

 

Follow the Gators

Live stats for each game are available on GatorZone.com and fans can also receive updates of each game on @GatorZoneBB, the official Twitter account of the Gator baseball team.

 

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