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UF Baseball: Gators Sweep Troy, Match Best Start in School History

Hunter Barco stymied Troy’s red-hot offense in another great Sunday outing for the Gators.

Courtesy of UF Athletic Association

The top-ranked Florida baseball team limited one of the nation’s hottest offenses to just six hits and made Troy’s pitching staff pay for nearly every free base it issued Sunday, as the Gators finished off their third series sweep of the season with a 7-1 victory at McKethan Stadium at Perry Field.

Florida is now 11-0 on the year, which ties the 1989 and 2002 Gators for the best start to a season in school history.

Freshman left-hander Hunter Barco limited Troy – which entered the series ranked fifth nationally with 107 hits and smacked 23 more Friday and Saturday – to just four hits and a run in his five innings on the hill. The Jacksonville, Fla., native also posted a career-high nine strikeouts and only issued one walk. Barco earned the win to improve to 2-0 on the season.

Out of the bullpen, sophomore Christian Scott made his first appearance of the week, tossing three scoreless innings. Freshman Brandon Sproat threw a scoreless ninth inning to close out the game. Scott and Sproat combined to allow just two hits.

Florida opened its scoring in the first inning with a two-out walk by senior third baseman Kirby McMullen, followed by an RBI double from junior utility man Jordan Butler, who finished 2-for-3 with a walk and a run. The Gators got another run in the third inning, as sophomore outfielder Jud Fabian doubled in the leadoff spot and eventually scored after a pair of walks and a hit batter.

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After Troy plated a run in the fourth to make it 2-1, Florida scored a pair of runs in the fifth, stringing together three singles and a sacrifice fly and benefiting from a balk.

The three insurance runs in the eighth were the result of two walks and a towering three-run home run by Fabian, who leads the Gators with five home runs this season.

STANDOUT STAT: 12 – consecutive games Jacob Young has recorded a hit. Young’s streak dates back to a pair of appearances in last season’s NCAA Tournament and is now the longest of his career. With a pair of singles today, Young also has multiple hits in six consecutive games. Young has hit .413 (19-of-46) during the streak.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Butler. The junior earned the start in two of the three games this weekend because of his bat, and he went 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI, a run, and a walk Sunday. For the weekend, Butler went 3-for-8 (.375) with a pair of runs and RBIs.

FROM COACH KEVIN O’SULLIVAN:

On where the team is at after this weekend… “I told the team at the end of the game, when you kind of look at it, every third or fourth weekend we are a little bit sluggish. It has a lot to do with not being in baseball shape. You only have three weeks to get ready for the season, and never once in preseason did we go nine innings three consecutive days. It’s easy when you’ve got your legs underneath you when the season starts. Then Miami, which everyone is excited about playing, and then you come back to reality and your legs get a little heavy, bats slow down a little bit. We’re really not in baseball shape yet. We reached for a lot of balls this weekend. We lost our legs. We hit a lot of weak groundballs. We’ve got a long way to go.”

On the pitching performances… “Hunter [Barco] pitched well today. Obviously he’s going to have to get better once we start conference play, but I thought their hitters did a really good job fouling some pitches off, especially with two strikes, and got his pitch count up. Really good to get Christian Scott back out there; he was really sharp. And then [Brandon] Sproat was really good, too. The three-run home run was huge, and it gave us a chance to not have to use Ben Specht for a third game in a row.”

UP NEXT: Florida goes for its school-record 12th consecutive win to open a season Tuesday night against Florida Atlantic at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Fla. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. Pitching matchups have yet to be announced.