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UF Baseball: No. 9 Gators Drop Final Midweek Matchup of Season to Stetson

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY SULLIVAN BORTNER

No. 9 Florida came up short in their final midweek game of the 2021 season, falling to Stetson by a 6-1 score at Melching Field on Tuesday night.

Following a one-hour and 15-minute weather delay, Stetson and Florida traded scoreless first innings before the Gators broke open the scoring in the second. After loading the bases on a pair of walks and a fielding error at first, Jacob Young put the Gators up 1-0 by bringing in Kirby McMullen on a ground ball to third base.

With the slim lead in hand, Gator starter Brandon Sproat produced three subsequent shutout innings of work to keep Florida on top. David Luethje and Trey Van Der Weide later combined for two shutout frames following Sproat’s exit prior to the bottom half of the fifth.

Entering the bottom half of the seventh and the Gators holding a 1-0 lead, the Hatters finally broke through into the scoring column. With the bases loaded, Ryne Guida knotted the game up at one run apiece with an RBI single up the middle. Christian Scott then came on in relief and fanned three consecutive batters to work Florida out of the frame, but Stetson struck again in the eighth with a five-run inning to take a 6-1 lead.

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Sterlin Thompson led off the top of the ninth with a double to left-center, but the Gators were ultimately unable to push any runs across as Florida dropped their final midweek contest of the 2021 campaign.

Sproat was excellent in his first career start despite receiving the no-decision, finishing with four shutout innings on one hit and one walk with two strikeouts.

Florida reliever Ben Specht was saddled with the loss, pitching one-third of an inning and allowing five earned runs on three hits.

Hatters reliever Danny Garcia earned the win, tossing three scoreless innings and allowing two hits while striking out two.

NOTABLES

  *   Making his first career start, Sproat worked a career-high four innings and allowed zero runs on just one hit and one walk while striking out two.
  *   Jud Fabian drew a fifth-inning walk to extend his on-base streak to 23 games, while McMullen finished 2-for-3 with a double to increase his own on-base streak to an even 20 games.
  *   Despite the loss, Florida has won 13 of their last 17 games including five of their last seven.

FROM HEAD COACH KEVIN O’SULLIVAN
On his overall impressions from the game and what he saw from the team…
“I thought Brandon [Sproat] gave us a really nice start. And then Christian Scott came in in a really tough spot with the bases loaded and kept it to one run. Bottom line is we got two hits over eight. With how well we’ve been swinging the bats, for almost a month now, I’m not quite sure why tonight went the way it did. We just have to regroup. The game did not come down to the eighth inning. If we would have done what we were supposed to do offensively, we might not have been in that position. We just have to go back home and we have an important series left. Obviously, last series at home, against Georgia. We have two days to get ready for that. We’ll move on from this one.”

On Sproat’s solid start…
“He threw the ball really good. We had a good conversation yesterday. I gave him the story of Tyler Dyson in 2017, when he really got going toward the latter part of the year and was a huge piece in the puzzle and one of the reasons we won a national championship that year. I told him that even though the year may not have gone the way he wanted up to this point, he can certainly still finish strong and I was really pleased with how he threw the ball tonight.”

UP NEXT
Florida welcomes Georgia to Gainesville this upcoming weekend for a three-game series spanning from May 14-16. Games one and two will stream live on SEC Network+ at 6:30 p.m. ET on Friday and Saturday, while game three will air on SEC Network at 12 p.m. on Sunday. All games will be available on radio via WRUF 850 AM/98.1 FM in Gainesville, 1010XL in Jacksonville and on any mobile device via the TuneIn app (search for the “Florida Baseball” station).

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