JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Top-ranked Florida State (19-5) managed just one run against Florida (16-9) for the second straight meeting as the Seminoles fell to the Gators, 4-1 inside the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville on Tuesday night.
Jose Brizuela once again was responsible for the only Florida State run in the loss as his ninth inning solo home run avoided FSU’s first shutout of the season. Brizuela was also responsible for the only run in a 3-1 loss in Gainesville back on March 18 as he connected on a solo shot in the sixth.
The loss was the Seminoles’ third in a row to the Gators while it gave Florida the season series for the second time in the last three years. FSU dropped to 5-3 all-time against the Gators in Jacksonville.
“The story was the outstanding pitching that Florida and Florida State showed,” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said. “Pete Miller pitched very well. It is amazing when you play a game and a team as good as Florida a couple of mistakes can put you behind the eight ball and we made a couple of mistakes and they took advantage of it.”
Peter Miller (1-2) suffered the loss, his second in as many starters against the Gators this year. The senior right hander went 5.0 plus innings allowing two runs, all earned, on three hits as he walked five and struck out six.
“The curveball was working for me again,” said Miller. “I got my fastball command back, but it was my curveball that was there tonight.”
The Seminoles finished with six hits on the night while stranding nine runners on base. Florida State got runners to third base in the first and fifth innings, both with two outs, and could not manage to push the run across.
Florida State looked to build off the momentum following Brizuela’s ninth inning home run as Brett Knief followed with a single to left. But Florida’s Ryan Harris got a fly out and strikeout before issuing a walk to pinch hitter Gage West. He preserved the win and picked up his fourth save of the season as he got Josh Delph to fly out to left to end the game.
The Gator’s Danny Young (3-0) earned the win working 3.2 shutout innings in relief as he gave up two hits and a walk while striking out four.
Florida grabbed the early lead on Tuesday night plating a run in the bottom of the first on an RBI bloop single to right by Braden Mattson. The Gators loaded the bases off Miller on three walks, one intentional, before Mattson dropped a one-out single to short right. The Seminole right hander held UF to just the one run as he struck out the next two batters to retire the side.
The Gators added two more runs in the six pushing their lead to 3-0 without even getting the ball out of the infield. Mattson led off the inning with an infield single to third, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on an errant throw to first by Miller after Justin Shafer was trying to sacrifice the runner over. Shafer would later score on a fielder’s choice off the bat of John Sternagel.
UF went up 4-0 in the eighth on an RBI single by Sternagel. Shafer opened the inning with a single to right off Kenny Burkhead and scored two batters later on Sternagel’s single to center.
Shafer, Florida’s starter on Tuesday night, worked 4.0 shutout innings as he gave up two hits and two walks while finishing with three strikeouts.
Florida State is back on the road this weekend as the Seminoles head to the Northeast to face Boston College for a three-game series beginning Friday, March 28. Fans can listen to the game on the Seminoles.com All-Access player and locally on 1270 AM (Friday) and 100.7 FM (Saturday & Sunday). Live stats will be available via gametracker.