GatorsTerritory - Gators hit the road, beat UNF 9-6
{{ timeAgo('2021-02-23 20:18:11 -0600') }} baseball Edit

Gators hit the road, beat UNF 9-6

The only road game the Gators will have in the first 17 games of the season ended in a win. The No. 7 Florida Gators (2-2) took the short bus ride north to Jacksonville and handed UNF a 9-6 loss.

The Gators got on the board quickly in the first inning. Jacob Young singled to extend his hitting streak to 22 games dating back to the final game of the 2019 season, 634 days ago. Young stole second, advanced to third on a Jud Fabian single but fell and got run down in a pickle when Nathan Hickey grounded to the pitcher. Young did his job of staying in the pickle long enough to allow Fabian to advance to third and the center fielder scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly.

Then the real story of the night began. Garrett Milchin made his return to competitive baseball for the first time since the 2017 Colleg World Series. Milchin, a freshman on the 2017 team exited a loss against TCU that June night in Omaha and began a more than three-year journey that included two Tommy John surgeries, to get back on the mound tonight.

"t felt much less foreign than I thought it would. I was ready to go once I got out there," Milchin told Gator Territory after the game. "I didn’t really have any nerves. I had more nerves before my first scrimmage outing. I think the scrimmage outings definitely got me prepared mentally for tonight so I was ready to go from the jump."

Milchin struck out the first two batters he faced before a couple of singles and an error to a run for the Ospreys. Milchin would bounce back, throwing 42 pitches in two innings of work, allowing just the one unearned run before giving way to Jordan Butler.

“I just think we came out of the gates slow," Kevin O'Sullivan said. "It’s unfortunate we didn’t play good defense there behind him.”

Florida retook the lead in the third inning with a four-spot. Nathan Hickey led the frame off with a single and moved to second on a ground out by Kirby McMullen. Hickey was driven home by Butler to make the score 2-1. Josh Rivera reached on an error and Sterlin Thompson walked to load the bases bringing up Colby Halter. The freshman from Bishop Kenny High School in Jacksonville delivered in his homecoming game with a triple to give Florida a 5-1 advantage.

Butler did his job in relief until the fifth inning where he ran into trouble. Abraham Sequera led off with a solo home run to left field. Austin Bogart followed with a double and scored two batter later to trim the Florida lead to 5-3.

The Gators tacked on insurance runs in the seventh inning and one more in the ninth inning when Jud Fabian singled home Young, who had collected his second double of the game a few pitches prior.

The Gators improved to 2-2 on the season and will host North Florida at Florida Ballpark on Wednesday night at 6:00 p.m.

Florida's next 13 games will all be at Florida Ballpark.

Box score from the Florida Gators 9-6 win over UNF on February 23, 2021
Box score from the Florida Gators 9-6 win over UNF on February 23, 2021 (Nick de la Torre)