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UF Baseball: Young Breaks Record in No. 6 Gators Sweep over Florida A&M

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY ZACH DIRLAM

Jacob Young extends hitting streak to 30 games as Florida wins, 8-0

Speed kills. And for third-year sophomore outfielder Jacob Young, his elite speed on the base paths extended a 30-game hitting streak and broke a 21-year-old school record previously set by Tim Olson in 2000. The record-setting performance highlighted the 8-0 victory and series sweep over Florida A&M on Sunday afternoon from Florida Ballpark/McKethan Field.

With the Gators already holding an 8-0 lead and the game virtually in hand, Young led off the bottom of the eighth; he was without a hit in four other plate appearances. With a 3-1 count, Young sent a chopper to the shortstop and had himself an infield single by the time the ball rolled under the defender’s glove.

This was 30.

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It was also perhaps the most fitting fashion for the speedy Young to break Olson’s school record. Young’s 30-game streak, now active for a mind-boggling 646 days, is also the fourth-longest multi-season hitting streak in SEC history, behind Vanderbilt’s Ryan Flaherty (36 games in 2006-07) and Warner Jones (32 games in 2003-04) and Mississippi State’s Rex Buckner (31 games in 1992-93).

Florida raced out to an early 7-0 lead, scoring multiple runs in each of the first three innings.

The Gators jumped on the Rattlers early, scoring three runs in the opening frame. After Young reached on an error to lead off, third-year sophomore outfielder Jud Fabian belted his fifth home run on the season to give Florida the early 2-0 lead. Freshman outfielder Sterlin Thompson later grounded into a double play that scored second-year freshman catcher Nathan Hickey.

In the second, Hickey drove in two on a double to right-center, and in the third, Thompson scored on an error and Halter raced home on a stolen base from second-year freshman infielder Josh Rivera.

The Gators concluded the scoring in the fifth when freshman Colby Halter doubled to right-center to score Thompson, who reached on a hit-by-pitch.

Second-year freshman hurler Hunter Barco earned his first victory on the season, striking out nine while allowing just two hits in five innings.

The freshmen duo of Halter and Thompson paced the Gators all weekend long. Halter batted .500 (6-for-12) in the series with a team-high six RBI, while Thompson posted a .400 average (4-for-10) and led the Gators with six runs scored.

FROM COACH KEVIN O’SULLIVAN

On Jacob Young’s record…
“We didn’t call a hit-and-run. I think somebody said treat it like a hit-and-run out of the dugout. There was no sign, but you get in a situation like that and I think the ball is close, you got to swing. What a great accomplishment for him. Couldn’t have happened to a better teammate, person. It’s a really hard thing to do, and it goes back, I think, to the Texas Tech regional a few years ago. To have that level of focus and determination day in and day out just speaks volumes about what he’s all about. I think there’s only six other guys in SEC history that have had longer hitting streaks… Like I said, it’s a heck of an accomplishment, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he goes on a much longer streak at this point now that he broke the record. The guys are behind him. I know it was maybe a questionable call, whether it was a hit or an error, but I firmly believe he would have beat it out if it was fielded cleanly. I don’t think anything was given to him. I had a really good angle at it and I don’t think there was any question that it was a hit.”

On Hunter Barco…
“I thought last week he was really sharp. I think a couple balls got in the air for home runs, but when you look at the video – his command was really good last weekend. I actually think he pitched a little better last weekend than he did today. The last two starts are what we are hoping and expect from him. He’s pitched really, really well the last two weekends.”

JACOB YOUNG

On breaking the record…
“It was nice that we got a lead early, of course. At that point in the game, just trying to figure out where to kind of get the team going and find a way for us to score early. You kind of hear some rumbles late in the game heading into the eighth and you start thinking about it. You hear some things in the stands, some things in the dugout. A lot of nervous energy, but I knew I just wanted to put the ball in play and figure out a way to try to extend it.”

On what it means to him…
“I grew up a Gator fan. I was born in Jacksonville and always followed the Gators. I’ve been a huge fan of them. I’ve watched, it feels like, every sports game they’ve had growing up. Knowing that my name’s in one of the books is a really great feeling. I actually got a message from Tim Olson yesterday. That meant a lot, just hearing from him and talking to him for a little bit. It was a cool feeling and it’s great to know. It’s a really good feeling.”

UP NEXT: Florida continues its home stand as the Gators will face Georgia State on Tuesday, March 9. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.