GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida A&M (23-24) only managed three hits against #3 Florida (45-16) pitching in a 19-0 loss in front of 3,833 fans at McKethan Stadium on Friday night. The NCAA Regional opening round loss snapped a six-game winning streak by the Rattlers. FAMU only had five base runners on three hits, a walk and a hit-by-pitch on the night, with three of them making it to second base. Ricky Page tied a career-high with five strikeouts despite the loss. Rattler pitching hit seven batters on the night, the most hit batters for Florida this season. 13 of the Gators’ runs came over the final four innings.
Rattler starter Ricky Page (2-1) suffered the loss after working 2 1/3 innings and tying a season-high with five strikeouts. Page allowed six runs (three earned) on five hits with three walks and threw 51 pitches.
AJ Elkins, Marlon Gibbs and Ryan Kennedy accounted for FAMU’s three hits.
Florida designated hitter JJ Schwarz had a hot bat as he went 4-for-5 with five RBI and three runs scored. Schwarz hit his 15th home run of the season, a solo shot to left center to led off the sixth inning. Right fielder Jeremy Vasquez was 3-for-3 with a double, RBI and two runs scored.
UF worked the bases loaded with no outs in the bottom of the second inning, but only managed one run for an early 1-0 lead. The bases were loaded after Peter Alonso, Schwarz and Vasquez recorded three straight singles to open the home half of the second inning. Mike Rivera then plated Alonso from third, with a sac fly to right, for the Gators’ first run of the game.
The Gators pushed their lead to 6-0 with five runs (two earned) in the third inning. Florida had the bases loaded again with no outs before Schwarz drew a bases loaded walk to bring home the first run of the inning. Offensively for the Gators in the third, Vasquez and Dalton Guthrie had RBI singles, Rivera had a fielder’s choice RBI and Harrison Bader’s sac fly to right brought home the final run of the inning.
In the top of the fourth inning, FAMU had runners on first and second with two outs, but were unable to score. Elkins singled to left with one out and after Gibbs went down on strikes, Kennedy also singled to left that put runners on first and second. Michael Birdsong then grounded out to first to end the inning.
In the fifth, Florida added three more runs to increase the lead to 9-0. A walk to Vasquez to start the inning and Rivera was hit in the knee by a pitch from Tyler Reker that pulled Rivera from the game as runners were on first and second with no outs. Mark Kolozsvary came in to pinch-run for Rivera at first before both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Bader then roped a two-run single into the left center gap. After Bader stole second, Buddy Reed doubled him home with another ball into the left-center gap for the third run of the inning.
The Gators added two more runs in the sixth to make the score 11-0. Schwarz led off the sixth with his 15th home run of the season into the trees behind the left field wall. Vasquez followed with a double down the right line as Ryan Larson then came in to pinch run for Vasquez at second. Larson moved to third on a fly out to right from Kolozsvary and came home to score on Carl Hicks pinch-hit sac fly to center.
UF would score two runs in the seventh and six runs (five earned) in the eighth for a final score of 19-0.
Florida starter Logan Shore (8-6) earned the win after pitching five shutout innings and threw 58 pitches. Shore allowed just two hits with two strikeouts, one walk and one hit batter.
Florida A&M will face Florida Atlantic (40-18) on Saturday at 1:00 PM in an elimination game of the Gainesville Regional. The game will be televised on ESPN3.
Courtesy: FAMU Athletics