With two outs in the bottom of the seventh and runners on first and second, Florida designated hitter Mark Kolozsvary tapped a pitch from FSU’s Andrew Karp as he attempted to check his swing.
The ball sailed through the air before landing in shallow left-center field, allowing Jonathan India to score easily from second base.
“Sometimes,” Kolozsvary said, “you place it perfectly, I guess.”
In a game with just 10 combined hits, Kolozsvary’s RBI single was all the No. 5 Gators needed in their 1-0 victory over the top-ranked Seminoles on Tuesday at McKethan Stadium in the first of three midweek games between the two teams.
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The win is the Gators’ eighth over FSU in the past nine outings in the series.
“Lo and behold, a check swing wins the ball game,” UF coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “It’s crazy. The game sometimes is unexplainable.”
And Florida (13-5) used a quartet of freshmen pitchers to earn the win over Florida State (13-4).
Freshman left-handed pitcher Andrew Baker earned the win after tossing a career-long 2 2/3 perfect innings out of the bullpen, retiring all eight batters he faced. He struck out four straight batters at one point.
It was a much-needed outing for the freshman who had struggled with containing his emotions while on the mound at points early this season.
“I felt great tonight for some reason,” said Baker, whose ERA dropped from 6.75 to 4.50. “I think it was the big rivalry. … I loved it out there.”
Freshman Tyler Dyson earned his first career save after working a clean ninth inning.
Baker, Dyson and Kirby McMullen (1/3 of an inning followed up a solid performance from fellow freshman Nate Brown, who gave up just three hits and struck out four batters in five scoreless innings. Brown’s fastball sat comfortably in the low 90s.
Brown built off his outing from a week ago against UCF, during which he was pulled after three innings in a controlled start. Since his debut -- a three-run relief inning in Florida’s season-opening series against William & Mary -- Brown has tossed eight scoreless innings.
“It was big for me personally because I know my first few outings didn’t go how I wanted,” Brown said. “It was good to build off of a start.”
UF’s pitching staff also built off each other, stranding all four FSU runners who reached base and not allowing a walk for the first time this season.
Karp drew the loss for FSU despite a quality start (7 innings, five hits, one earned run, 11 strikeouts).
“It was a good old pitcher’s duel,” O’Sullivan said. “We had some young freshmen step up and grow up.”
The Gators open SEC play with a three-game series at Auburn starting Friday. The Seminoles play another midweek game against Florida Gulf Coast in Fort Myers on Wednesday before traveling to face Virginia Tech for a three-game weekend series.
THIS AND THAT
UF’s starting shortstop Dalton Guthrie was not in the lineup Tuesday due to tenderness in his throwing shoulder. Guthrie had surgery on that shoulder in the offseason. O’Sullivan said he is day-to-day heading into the Auburn series but added holding Guthrie out is more of a precaution.