Florida freshman pitcher Tyler Dyson earned his first save Tuesday by striking out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth inning to close out the Gators' 1-0 win over top-ranked Florida State at McKethan Stadium.
Gators' freshman pitchers ice Seminoles
Locked in a scoreless baseball game Tuesday, the Florida Gators were struggling to string together consecutive hits against No. 1 Florida State.
But with runners on first and second, Mark Kolozsvary's check-swing single to shallow left field scored the only run the No. 5 Gators would need in the 1-0 win over the Seminoles at sold-out McKethan Stadium.
“I tried to check my swing and it kind of took off for me,” Kolozsvary said. “We really came together as a team, so hopefully we can keep building on this going into SEC play.”
Making his second career start, UF right-handed pitcher Nate Brown gave up three hits while striking out four batters in five innings of action.
Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan brought Kirby McMullen to the mound in the sixth inning in place of Brown, but the Ocala native was pulled after giving up a leadoff single. The Gators turned to fellow freshman Andrew Baker (1-1) to get out of the inning, and he didn't disappoint.
The left-hander retired eight consecutive FSU batters to earn his first career win for the Gators.
“I felt great tonight for some reason. I think it was the big rivalry that I've heard about since I've been in high school, middle school, but I felt really good,” Baker said. “I had to use everything in my body to keep calm out there. But I did and it worked, and we got the win, thankfully.”
Fellow freshman Tyler Dyson closed the issue in the ninth inning by retiring the Seminoles in order, including two strikeouts, for his first save.
For O'Sullivan, it was encouraging to see his team earn a hard-fought win against the nation's top-ranked program despite a lack of consistent power hitting.
“I don't care if it's one-nothing or 10-9, they all count the same,” O'Sullivan said. “It was important for our young pitchers to go out there and do what they did.
“I've been saying it all along: I think our young guys are starting to grow up, our bullpen is coming together and our offense, it will come around.”
Florida's freshman foursome foiled FSU by combining to allow only four hits, no walks and striking out 10. UF has shut out Florida State three consecutive games, dating to last year's Super Regional.
“It's one game, but it was an exciting one. One walk either way could have changed the complexion of the game,” O'Sullivan said. “I think it was just two very good pitching staffs matching up. It's just that simple.”
Along with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate, Jonathan India's double in the seventh inning would end up being the winning run for Florida (13-5).
The Gators will head to Auburn, Alabama, to open SEC play with a three-game series against the Tigers (13-5).
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