Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Beat Keeps on Going for Gators; by Garry Smits

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Beat Keeps on Going for Gators; by Garry Smits

Article excerpt


The bats went quiet for the Florida Gators but there's still enough muscle memory from their 2017 national championship season to find a way to beat Florida State -- again.

Freshman Jack Leftwich threw five scoreless innings of one-hit ball, Michael Byrne tied the UF career saves record and Austin Langworthy's RBI single in the fourth inning stood up as the second-ranked Gators gutted out a 1-0 victory over the No. 5 Seminoles in front of 9,613 at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville on Tuesday.

The Gators (21-5) won their seventh game in a row against FSU (21-6) and their 12th in the last 13 meetings. It also marked the third victory in a row over the Seminoles in Jacksonville, after FSU had won six of the first nine meetings since the two teams began playing annually at the home of the Southern League's Jumbo Shrimp in 2007.

Florida scored the fewest runs in a game since a 2-0 loss to Miami on Feb. 25. Since a 12-6 victory over FSU in Gainesville on March 13, UF had averaged more than eight runs, nine hits and two home runs per game, and were coming off a three-game series against Arkansas in which it scored 25 runs.

But the Gators followed the script they used for much of the 2017 season, using pitching and defense to get the best of the 'Noles. Leftwich (3-1) had a no-hitter and allowed only one baserunner through the first five innings, and retired 13 batters in a row at one point.

Florida scored its only run in the fourth when Wil Dalton hit a one-out double to left and scored one out later on Langworthy's single.

UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan had a quick hook on Leftwich after Rafael Bournigal broke up the no-hitter with a sharp single to right-center to lead off the sixth. But another freshman, Jordan Butler, got Mike Salvatore to ground into a 5-4-3 double play and then induced Nick Derr into a weak grounder back to the mound. …

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