UF Baseball: Gators Take Doubleheader to Sweep Missouri

Jack Leftwich picked up the win in Saturday’s first game with 4.0 no-hit innings.
Photo by Anna Carrington

Courtesy of University Athletic Association


The Gators played the entirety of their three-game sweep vs. Mizzou in a 23-hour span

Florida took both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader vs. Missouri at Florida Ballpark at Alfred A. McKethan Field, improving to 8-1 at home in Southeastern Conference play. Florida (25-11, 9-6 SEC) has won five straight overall and won all three games vs. Missouri over the course of 23 hours. Rain forced the start of Friday’s opener late into the evening, and the teams played a doubleheader on Saturday with rain forecast for Sunday.

Florida extended its winning streak vs. Missouri (11-23, 4-11 SEC) to 15, UF’s longest vs. an SEC opponent over the past 50 years and the third-longest in program history.


Missouri jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second inning, but RHP Tommy Mace settled in after that and struck out six in five innings. The Gators got one back in the bottom of the frame on an RBI fielder’s choice by Josh Rivera that plated Jud Fabian.

Florida did its major damage in a five-run inning of its own, storming back for a 6-5 lead in the fifth when Rivera delivered a two-run base hit to put Florida in front after a Nathan Hickey bases-loaded walk and a Kirby McMullen hit each produced a run.

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For the second time this week, right-hander Jack Leftwich came out of the bullpen and picked up the win, throwing four innings of no-hit ball with two strikeouts and no walks.

Mizzou tied the game at six in the top of the seventh, but Florida answered in the bottom half as McMullen’s sac fly to right brought Jacob Young across for a 7-6 lead. McMullen drove in an insurance run in the eighth, and Leftwich shut the door on the Tigers.

Freshman LHP Hunter Barco went 6.1 innings with five strikeouts and gave up just one run, improving to 5-2 on the season.

Fabian again scored the Gators’ first run, taking home on a wild pitch in the second inning. Colby Halter’s RBI single to right center scored Sterlin Thompson for a 2-0 edge.

Barco gave way to Trey Van Der Weide in the seventh with two aboard and one out, and the left-hander immediately induced a double play to end the threat.

Kendrick Calilao’s insurance RBI in the bottom of the eighth put Florida up 6-2, and though Missouri threatened in the top of the ninth, Van Der Weide held strong and picked up his first save of the season in the 6-4 win.


  *   Leftwich threw 4.0 innings while facing just 11 batters and allowed no hits and no walks. Coupled with Tuesday’s appearance vs. Florida State, Leftwich went 2-0 on the week with 8.0 innings pitched, no hits, no runs, nine strikeouts, and one walk.
  *   Rivera tallied a season-high three RBI in the first game of the day, including a go-ahead two-RBI single in the bottom of the fifth.
  *   Hickey has reached base in 13 straight games and 32 of 36 games this season.
  *   Barco’s 6.1 innings pitched matched a career high.

On winning three games in such a short time span…
“I don’t know if that’s ever happened since we’ve been here, actually, less than 24 hours. I think everybody’s kind of tired. I’m sure Missouri is, as well, but we did just enough to win all three games. We’ve got some things we obviously need to improve on, but at this point in the season when you’re finding ways to win even when you don’t play the cleanest of games is important for your team’s character and mental development.”

On the defensive quality of today’s lineup …
“Colby (Halter) made some really nice plays at third base, and we turned some really, really good double plays with him and Josh (Rivera) today and Jordan (Carrion). You’re just trying to find the best offense you possibly can but not sacrifice defense, but I think we’re just getting to a point where when you start playing some of these better teams in the league, you can’t be giving them four and five outs in an inning. It just can’t happen. That’s when those big innings happen, and against really good pitchers it’s hard to recover from.”

UP NEXT: Florida visits Jacksonville on Tuesday, available on radio on WRUF 850 AM/98.1 FM in Gainesville and on any mobile device via the TuneIn app (search for the “Florida Baseball” station). The Gators visit Auburn next weekend.