Florida sophomore pitcher Brady Singer walked off the mound in the eighth inning Saturday night to a standing ovation from a sold out McKethan Stadium crowd and a round of applause from his teammates in the dugout.
Like Alex Faedo the night before, Singer kept the Miami Hurricanes off the scoreboard and helped the Gators coast to another win over their in-state rival.
Behind a career-high 7 2/3 scoreless innings from Singer and a pair of solo home runs, No. 2 Florida clinched its regular-season series over No. 17 Miami with a 2-0 shutout win on Saturday night at McKethan Stadium.
It’s the first time in the rivalry that dates back to 1940 that the Gators have posted back-to-back shutout victories over the Hurricanes.
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“It’s one of those things. You’re only as good as your last game,” UF coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “I’ll let the guys enjoy it, and I told them that they needed to be greedy and try to get a sweep on [Sunday].”
Florida junior designated hitter Mark Kolozsvary opened scoring in the bottom of the third with his first home run — and first hit — of the season to left field off of Miami starter Jeb Bargfeldt. Three innings later, sophomore Jonathan India gave Florida (5-1) insurance with a towering solo home run of his own to left field.
Singer, a 6-5 right-hander with a sinking fastball that sat comfortably around 95 mph throughout the night, gave up just five hits during his time on the mound and struck out a personal best 11 batters.
“It was just one of those days,” Singer said. “Everything was working. I just lived off the fastball, sunk it as much as I could, and it was a good outing. I felt good.”
Junior Nick Horvath struck out Johnny Ruiz to finish the eighth inning with two Miami runners on base before senior and former St. Thomas Aquinas standout Frank Rubio worked a scoreless ninth to earn his second save in a row for the Gators.
Bargfeldt, a junior college transfer from Cisco College, posted a second consecutive solid outing on the mound despite drawing his first loss as a UM player. Outside of the two home runs, the 6-0 lefty gave up just one other hit in six innings of work.
“I felt good,” Bargfeldt said. “I had command of three, if not four, pitches at a time. You have to have that when you go against guys like these. I knew I had to bring my ‘A’ game. … Unfortunately, two of them got away from me.”
And like Friday night, the Miami offense gave its starting pitcher no support to work with. The Hurricanes (2-3) recorded just the five hits and stranded six runners on base.
“The hits are going to come,” Miami coach Jim Morris said. “We just have to keep our heads up, keep battling and understand that we faced two of the better pitchers in the country. Most of those first-round guys, they come right after you.”
Miami’s best chance to make a move came in the fifth inning. Trailing 1-0, James Davison hit a one-out single and stole second base before catcher Joe Gomez hit a pitch straight back to Singer to put runners on the corners.
One batter later, shortstop Brandon Gali hit the first pitch he saw to UF third baseman India, which resulted in an inning-ending double play.
The series concludes on Sunday at 1 p.m.