On Friday, Boca Raton native Taylor Gushue was the goat. On Saturday, he was the hero.
Florida’s second-year catcher, a Calvary Christian Academy alum, knocked in the winning runs with a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the eighth inning of a 6-4 win over the No. 20 Miami Hurricanes (10-1). The host Gators (4-7) took advantage of several mistakes by the Hurricanes for a late come-from-behind victory in a game that was messy throughout.
Miami took a lead in the fourth when designated hitter Michael Broad reached base on an infield single, then easily stole second on Gushue and later scored on a bloop single from Brandon Lopez. Florida answered with a run in the bottom of the fourth, but the Hurricanes wasted no time taking back the lead an inning later.
Second baseman Alex Hernandez and right fielder Chantz Mack led off the fifth with back-to-back singles. A throwing error by Gators third baseman Zack Powers on a bunt attempt from David Thompson plated Hernandez for Miami’s second run and a wild pitch that Gushue could have easily blocked sent Mack across home to give the Hurricanes a 3-1 lead.
Junior right hander Javi Salas (2-0) got the start for Miami, earning a no decision on six innings of four-hit ball while giving up two runs (one earned) with two strikeouts and two walks. Junior AJ Salcines relieved Salas to start the seventh and worked a worry-free inning before the wheels came off in the eighth.
Florida second baseman Casey Turgeon was responsible for Salas’ only blemish when he hit a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth to bring the Gators within a run. Turgeon then led off the bottom of the eighth with a walk to start the Gators’ rally.
Right fielder Justin Shafer followed with a bloop double to center that got past the diving glove of Dale Carey and Salcines then plunked third baseman Zack Powers to load the bases and set the stage for Gushue.
In Friday’s game, Mack stole second in the ninth inning despite Florida guessing right and calling for a pitch out on the attempt. Gushue’s throw wasn’t in time, and Mack scored the winning run on David Thompson’s single.
But on Saturday, the sophomore redeemed himself with a lined shot to right that plated Turgeon and Shafer for the winning runs.
The win ended a six-game losing streak for Florida and brought to a close an impressive 10-game winning streak with which Miami began the season.
• No. 8 Mississippi 8, FIU 2: Host FIU (7-4) fell at the hands of Ole Miss (10-1) despite sophomore Oscar Aguirre’s 2-for-4 effort with a home run. . Junior Zach Sweety and Tyler James Shantz each had two hits for the Panthers, and junior Tyler Alexander (1-1) suffered the loss. Mike Mayers earned his first win of the season for the Rebels.
FIU’s only runs came off the bat of Aguirre who launched a two-run home run in the fifth inning. The home run was the first of the season for Aguirre.
Mayers allowed two runs on six hits with no walks and six strikeouts in seven innings. Jeremy Massie closed out the game with two innings of work, allowing one unearned run on two hits with a strikeout.
Alexander gave up six runs — four of them earned — on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts through five innings. Alexander entered the weekend having allowed only one unearned run this season.