Dominant Singer Lifts Gators

Analysis

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — No. 2 Florida clinched its series over No. 21 Miami with a 2-0 win Saturday, just one night after head coach Kevin O’Sullivan notched his 400th career win for the Gators. O’Sullivan, now in his 10th season as head coach, has made steady progress in evening the all-time series, which sat at 128-117-1 in Miami’s favor before the weekend. The Gators have won the series each of the last three years, posting an 8-2 mark thanks to a pair of wins when the two state rivals met in Omaha in 2015.

Heading into the series the tale of the tape showed a strong pitching matchup, and there has been no shortage of quality pitching. Gators ace Alex Faedo outshined Jesse Lepore of the Canes in a 1-0 victory Friday night, though both turned in impressive stat lines. Faedo exited just one out shy of a complete game shutout before turning the ball over to closer Frank Rubio, and would have finished the game himself if it weren’t for a fielding error that could have recorded the final out of the game. The Gators outhit the Canes 8-2, but both sides struggled to plate runs. The deciding factor in game one was a Jonathan India RBI single in the third that plated Dalton Guthrie for the game’s only run.

Fast-forward one night, and the scene looked all too familiar for the Canes. The Gators’ Brady Singer dazzled en route to 7.2 scoreless innings. Although the Canes outhit Florida 5-3, Singer notched a career-high 11 strikeouts in front of more than 6,000 fans that packed McKethan Stadium. The sophomore’s fastball was as high as 96, and held the Canes at bay for most of the night.

Offensively, a pair of solo homers helped make Singer’s performance stand up. Though Canes’ starter Jeb Bargfeldt turned in a quality start, the home run by DH Mark Kolozsvary in the third was all it took win the ballgame. In the sixth, India added insurance with a solo shot of his own, and Rubio came on to record the save for the second night in a row.

The two teams enter the series finale expecting a pitcher’s duel yet again. The Gators will start sophomore Jackson Kowar, who struck out 10 a week ago. The Canes will hope for a great performance from junior lefty Michael Mediavilla, the team’s top starter a year ago. Despite another tough loss, the Canes will hope to build off the tiny bit of offensive momentum they accumulated by outhitting the Gators on Saturday night. One thing is for sure, game three will not disappoint — as is always the case in this storied college baseball rivalry.

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