For the second time since November, a No. 1-ranked team from Florida State came to Gainesville in search of an expected victory against unranked rival Florida. Gators fans might actually want to keep reading about this one.
This time, Florida pulled the upset. The UF baseball team defeated FSU 3-1 Tuesday night in front of a season-high crowd of 5,657 - the 10th largest home crowd in school history. For the Seminoles (17-3), it was a rare snafu after entering the game on a six-game win streak that included 59 runs.
Pitching and defense was once again Florida's greatest asset against college baseball's hottest team.
"It was a really good college baseball game," Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "I can see why they're ranked where they're ranked and why they've had success. It's just a tough lineup one through nine, but credit our guys for hanging in there and making pitches when they needed to."
FSU squandered early opportunities, going 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position. Most notably, the Seminoles failed to score a run in the third inning after loading the bases with no outs. Florida starter Danny Young gathered himself to force a shallow pop-up followed by a looking strikeout and a grounder to third that Josh Tobias turned into a masterpiece inning-ending play.
Tobias then led off the bottom of the third, hitting the first pitch he saw into the left-field bleachers.
Florida was quiet offensively from there until the answering a sixth-inning solo homer by FSU third baseman Jose Brizuela with a lead-off double by Richie Martin and an RBI triple from Harrison Bader. A Taylor Gushue sacrifice fly secured the eventual final score.
"I was just trying to not do too much, just barrel the ball up," Bader said. "Sully pulled me aside before the at-bat and just said, 'See the ball up.' I was lucky enough to see it when I did and just gave it a good swing."
Young left the game after three innings, giving way to righty Aaron Rhodes, who was credited for the victory. Rhodes struck out four over three innings, allowing three hits. Bobby Poyner worked three perfect innings to earn the save.
The Gators head to Texas A&M Friday for a three-game series against the Aggies. Florida previously took two of three from Arkansas this past weekend in its first Southeastern Conference series of the season.
"I'm not going to sugarcoat things. If I didn't think we were playing better, I'd tell you," O'Sullivan said. "We still got a long way to go, but I think this team is confident. They're having fun right now. It's very early in the year, but I do like the way we're playing."