GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida kept its winning streak rolling with a 5-0 win over Florida A&M Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium at Perry Field. The Gators are 13-0 on the season, and one of four remaining undefeated teams in Division I.
Tyler Nesbitt found out roughly five minutes before the team’s pregame stretch he would get the start, and the freshman right-hander dealt four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit, one walk, and amassing a career-high eight strikeouts. The decision for who tonight’s starter would be came down to Nesbitt and fellow freshman Brandon Sproat, who threw perfect frames in the seventh and eighth, with his final pitch of the night being a 99-mph fastball to freeze a Florida A&M batter for his third strikeout.
Sophomore Justin Alintoff and freshman Ryan Cabarcas also combined for three innings in the shutout.
Florida’s had a knack for driving in runs with two outs this season, and the trend continued Tuesday.
Sophomore outfielder Jacob Young led off the second inning with a double, extending his hitting streak to 14 games, but was stuck on second after a pair of strikeouts. Freshman shortstop Josh Rivera drove him in with a single to left. The sequence reversed itself in the third inning, with sophomore outfielder Jud Fabian chopping a leadoff single, and junior utility man Jordan Butler lacing a two-out RBI double down the right field line.
Freshman catcher Nathan Hickey led off the fifth with a towering home run over the scoreboard in right center, and Butler put an exclamation point on his night with a two-out, two-run homer off the right field foul pole.
STANDOUT STAT: 15 – strikeouts by the Gators pitching staff, marking Florida’s highest single-game total since striking out 15 Texas batters in a College World Series elimination game back on June 19, 2018.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Butler. The junior is swinging one of the Gators’ hottest bats, as he is 5-for-12 (.417 average) with three runs, five RBIs, a pair of doubles, and a home run over his last four games (all three Troy games, plus tonight).
FROM COACH KEVIN O’SULLIVAN: On the win tonight… “I thought it was a really good effort. I thought Tyler [Nesbitt] set the tone. His pace was outstanding for the first four innings. As a matter of fact, all our pitching … I thought that was one of the biggest games we played all year long. And I thought Florida A&M played really clean, too. Their pitching was really good. We had a couple big home runs. But I think it all started on the mound, and Tyler was outstanding tonight.”
On the pitching staff as a whole tonight… “Justin [Alintoff] came in, ate up a couple innings, and threw the ball across the plate, had some energy. [Brandon] Sproat is just starting to figure this thing out. I’m really pleased with how he’s progressing. I had a talk with him last week about how we were going to take the training wheels off, so to speak, and put him in some more situations. If he starts figuring it out, he’s going to totally change our whole pitching staff. And it was good to get Ryan [Cabarcas] back out there, after not pitching since Miami. All in all, I thought it was a really clean game. Played really good defense.”
UP NEXT: Florida faces South Florida in a three-game series at McKethan Stadium. The series opener is slated for Friday at 6:30 p.m.
PROJECTED PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday | 6:30 p.m. (SECN+)
Saturday | 4 p.m. (SECN+)
Sunday | 1 p.m. (SECN+)
RHP Tommy Mace (2-0)
RHP Jack Leftwich (1-0)
LHP Hunter Barco (2-0)
RHP Collin Sullivan (1-1)
RHP Jack Jasiak (1-1)
RHP Carson Ragsdale (1-0)