Round two between the Florida and Florida State baseball teams moves to Jacksonville on Tuesday night.
The No. 9 Gators (16-9) took the first meeting, 1-0, on March 14 in Gainesville, and have really controlled the rivalry series in recent years with 13 wins in the last 16 clashes. That included a 5-1 record last year and a NCAA Super Regional victory over the Seminoles.
No. 12 Florida State (18-7) comes into the second of three meetings this season (the final one will come in Tallahassee in April) riding a four-game winning streak, including a weekend sweep at Notre Dame.
Florida, meanwhile, had an interesting weekend, getting a nice boost by taking the first two games from LSU (now ranked No. 6), but the Gators blew a chance for the series sweep in deflating fashion. The bullpen squandered what was once a 5-0 lead by surrendering 8 runs over the final two innings for a 10-6 loss. That included three LSU 2-run home runs in the 8th.
“It was a disappointing loss,” Gators coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “I thought we played great all weekend until the last few innings. It’s just disappointing. Those are games, I would think, with our pitching staff when you have a 5-run lead it should be enough. We need to get better in certain areas. We’ve swung the bats better, we’re certainly heading in the right direction. Everybody around the country still has work to do. It’s disappointing, yeah. We just have to get better.”
First pitch is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. The game is not being televised and there is no streaming video available.
Florida is expected to start freshman right-hander Garrett Milchin (0-1, 2.45 ERA) while Florida State throws Andrew Karp (0-1, 4.10).
Karp was terrific against the Gators earlier this month, allowing 1 run and 5 hits over 7 innings while striking out 11 and walking 0.
Milchin, meanwhile, will be making his first career start after 5 relief appearances. He’s thrown 7.1 innings all season while posting a strong 9-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
-Dating back to the Super Regional last year, Florida State has not scored a run on Florida in 31 consecutive innings, including three straight shutouts.
-Gators catcher Mike Rivera has been hot at the plate, batting .429 with 4 RBIs last week.
-Florida shortstop Dalton Guthrie has remained limited to DH duties due to a lingering arm issue.
-Florida State is led offensively by Rhett Aplin (.341 batting average, 4 homers, 16 RBIs), JC Flowers (.316-2-19) and Quincy Nieporte (.314-6-36).