The final chapter of the four-part Florida versus Florida State season series came to an end Tuesday night in Tallahassee in front of 6,357 at Dick Howser Stadium. The No. 8 Florida State Seminoles (24-9, ACC) defeated the No. 4 Florida Gators (26-8, 9-3 SEC) 3-1 to win the season series three games to one.
LHP Alex Panteliodis took the mound for the Gators to start the contest, and allowed one run (earned) on four hits, issued one walk, and struck five out in 5IP, picking up his first loss this season. The winning Seminole pitcher was righty Hunter Scantling who pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits, walking one, and striking out seven.
Both teams were scoreless through three and one half innings, until the Seminoles opened the scoring in the bottom of the fourth. Mike McGee (CF) led off with a groundout to second base, followed by a single through the right side by James Ramsey (RF) for his 11th consecutive game with a hit. Jayce Boyd (1B) singled into left field, advancing Ramsey to second. After a Sherman Johnson (3B) strikeout, Stuart Tapley (LF) singled to Nolan Fontana at short stop, but the ball bounced off his chest, and Ramsey was able to score. Justin Gonzalez (SS) flied out to left field, ending the inning with the Seminoles ahead 1-0.
Florida threatened to score in the top of the sixth, but couldn’t cash in with a runner at third. Zack Powers (3B) hit a bunt down the first base line and beat the throw to put the tying run on for the Gators. Fontana hit a sacrifice bunt to Scantling, advancing Powers to second, and Josh Adams (2B) advanced him to third on a ground out to second base. Powers was left at third when Preston Tucker (RF) grounded out to Boyd at first base to end the frame for the Gators. RHP Greg Larson replaced Panteliodis to start off the bottom of the inning, and plunked the lead off batter, McGee who would be out at second on the next play when Ramsey reached on a fielder’s choice.Boyd grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
In the top half of the seventh, the Gators added another hit and left another runner stranded in scoring position. Mike Zunino (C) struck out swinging, followed by a single by Brian Johnson (DH) up the middle. Austin Maddox (1B) advanced Johnson with a groundout to short stop for the second out, but Tyler Thompson (CF) couldn’t bat in the run as he struck out swinging. Florida State added a pair of runs, both scored by wild pitches, in their half of the stanza to extend their lead 3-0. With (RHP) Greg Larson pitching in relief of Panteliodis, Johnson led off with a single into right field. After Tapley struck out looking, Gonzalez singled to third base, advancing Johnson to third on a throwing error by Zack Powers (3B). While Parker Brunelle, pinch hitting for Taiwan Easterling (DH), was at the plate, Larson threw a wild pitch that scored Johnson and advanced Gonzalez to second. Brunelle fouled out to Powers who made a diving catch for the second out. RHP Tommy Toledo took over for Larson who went 1.2 innings, allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits and struck one out. With the next batter, Devon Travis (2B), at the plate, Toldeo threw a wild pitch that scored Gonzalez, before Travis grounded to short stop to end the hosts’ half of the seventh.
After posting a career high in both innings pitched and strikeouts, Scantling was replaced by LHP Brian Busch, who walked Pigott to start the eighth. Busch set down the next three batters Ben McMahan (pinch hitting for Powers), Fontana, and Adams. Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan made some changes to his defense, still down 3-0 in the bottom of the inning. Cody Dent went to third base in place of McMahan and lefty Steven Rodriguez took over for Toledo. Rafael Lopez (C) popped up to third for the first out before Rodriguez issued a walk to McGee. Ramsey reached on a fielder’s choice to short stop, forcing McGee out at second for the second time in the game. With two outs, O’Sullovan went back to his bullpen and put righty Anthony DeSclafani on the mound. Ramsey stole second base but Boyd struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Gators were down to their final three outs of the contest, and were facing their second shutout this season, the previous time against Georgia Southern on March 8th (0-7). Tucker led off in the ninth with a double down the left field line, and Busch was replaced by RHP Daniel Bennett, who forced Zunino to foul out to Boyd at first base. With one out, Johnson singled down the left field line, scoring Tucker. O’Sullivan put Paul WIlson on first to pinch run for Johnson, and Jeff Moyer to pinch hit for Maddox. Moyer fouled out when he popped the ball straight back and it was caught by Lopez. With two outs, Thompson singled into right field, advancing Wilson to second. Kamm Washington was sent to the plate to pinch hit for Pigott, and grounded the ball to Travis, who tagged second to force out Thompson for the third out to end the game 3-1 Seminoles.
Kevin O’Sullivan is now 5-11 against Florida State, 4-0 in Gainesville, 1-4 in Tallahassee, and 0-7 at neutral sites. The Gators continue to struggle on Tuesdays; their record is now 3-5 on games played that day of the week.
The Gators will head to Athens for a three game series against SEC East rival Georgia (18- 15, 8-4 SEC) beginning Friday, April 15.