Tampa Bay Sports Day

COLLEGE BASEBALL: JU Falls to Gators, 3-1

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – No. 2 Florida posted a 3-1 victory over Jacksonville on Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium for its fifth straight win. The Gators (34-5) improved to 12-0 in mid-week games, have claimed 23 of their 24 non-conference outings and took both meetings with the Dolphins (22-14) this season.

Junior Frank Rubio (3-0) tossed 3.2 innings of scoreless ball to earn the decision, as UF’s bullpen threw six shutout frames and its five pitchers combined for 10 strikeouts and zero walks. Sophomore Mike Rivera broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth with an RBI grounder that scored junior Buddy Reed with the go-ahead run and freshman Jonathan India provided insurance with a run-scoring single in the seventh. Junior Dane Dunning struck out all four batters he faced and junior Shaun Anderson nailed down the win with a clean ninth for his eighth save.

Junior Austin Hayes (2-for-4) had given the Dolphins the lead against freshman Jackson Kowar in the first inning with a solo homer into the left-field bleachers, his team-leading 13th of the season.

The Dolphins threatened again in the second, placing runners on the corners with one down. However, Kowar induced an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play by freshman Dakota Julylia.

Florida put its first two runners aboard in the home part of the frame, as sophomore JJ Schwarz drew a four-pitch walk from junior Casey Kulina and junior Peter Alonso singled into left field. Senior shortstop JJ Gould made a great defensive play on a ball hit by Rivera and started a 6-4-3 double play before freshman Nelson Maldonado earned a free pass for two runners aboard. Kulina had freshman Danny Reyes fly out to end the frame.

The Gators tied the game in the fourth, when Reed came home on a wild pitch. Reed had led off with a single into right field and Schwarz walked for the second time in the contest. A fielding error on a failed pickoff attempt resulted in Reed taking third and Schwarz moving to second base before Kulina retired the next two batters by strikeout. With Maldonado batting, Kulina had an errant pitch that brought across Reed with the tying run.

Rubio took over for Kowar (3.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 K) and retired the first eight hitters he faced until yielding a two-out infield single to freshman Connor Stephens in the sixth. Although Stephens stole second, Rubio caught freshman Angel Camacho looking on strikes to complete the frame.

Rivera gave Florida a 2-1 lead with an RBI grounder in the home part of the inning. Reed reached on an error by Gould and Schwarz had a ground-rule double that bounced over the wall in right field to put the Gators in business with none out. After freshman Mike Schappell had Alonso fly out to center field, Rivera’s grounder to third base scored Reed.

Rubio retired the first two Dolphins in the seventh before giving up a single into right field for Julylia. Junior Kirby Snead allowed a base-hit into center field by senior Parker Perez (2-for-4) and Dunning was summoned from the bullpen. The right-hander fanned Hays to keep the Gators in front.

India added an insurance run with an RBI single in the seventh for a 3-1 margin. Sophomore Nick Horvath had drawn a one-out walk from freshman Ryan Granda and sophomore Dalton Guthrie (2-for-4) welcomed freshman Chris Gau into the game with a single into left field