No. 14 Gators Trounce No. 22 Miami to Claim Series
CORAL GABLES, Florida – No. 14 Florida outplayed No. 22 Miami from start to finish, knocking out the Hurricanes with a decisive 11-3 victory at Mark Light Field on Sunday afternoon.
With the victory, Florida (10-3) has now won seven of the last eight series against Miami (8-3). Gators are 37-16 against Hurricanes under head coach Kevin O’Sullivan, including wins in eight of the previous 11 encounters. After Friday’s series-opening loss, Florida beat Miami, 19-4, to win the final two games.
The Gators fired on all cylinders offensively early on, as the first four batters of the game reached base safely on a hit against Miami starter Jake Garland. Colby Halter started with a left-field single extending his hit streak to 15 games, followed by an RBI double down the left-field line from the start of Ju Fabien. Sterling Thompson then found a hole through the left side to ram J. Fabian, with Josh Rivera capping a first inning three-pointer with a sacrificial right volley to tackle Thompson.
Florida Starter Timmy Manning took advantage of the trio of runs he was spotted in the first frame, striking out Miami’s first six batters in order with three strikeouts to send the game into the third. With help from Manning’s zeros, the Gators extended their lead to 4-0 as Rivera landed his second RBI of the night with an RBI groundout at third to tag J. Fabian.
Miami scratched a run off Manning in the bottom half, putting the runners up with a Dominic Pitelli single and pitch-hit CJ Klayfus before Jacob Burke put the Canes on the board with an RBI single to right field. That would prove to be the extent of Miami’s score until the final innings of the game.
Manning held the Canes in check in the fifth, at which point he handed pitching duties to the right-hander Blake Purnel with a man down. The Boynton Beach, Fla. native needed just eight pitches to knock Florida out of the inning and hold the lead at 4-1.
As Purnell took care of business on the pitching side, the Gators began to pull away in the top of the sixth. After putting the game out of reach with a three-run homer in the ninth last night, Kendrick Calilao started the inning with an unmistakably solo shot to left field. Seven batters later with the bases loaded and two outs, Wyatt Langford delivered a clutch, doubled two innings on the left to tackle the fraternal combo of J. Fabian and Deric Fabienextending Florida’s advantage to 7-1.
Purnell was in cruise control afterward, shutting out Miami in the sixth through eighth innings using four strikeouts. He finished with 3.2 scoreless innings before going out.
Florida gave it their all in the eighth and ninth, scoring four more runs to make it 11-1. J. Fabian scored the only point of the eighth, driving through home on wild pitch. Kris Armstrong nailed on another with an RBI single to the center in the ninth, while a bases-loaded walk by J. Fabian and a 6-4-3 double play off the bat from Thompson produced the 10th and 11th runs in the day for the Gators.
The Canes scored two ninth-inning runs to make the score more respectable, but right-handed reliever Ryan Slater came on and finished off an 11-3 Gators win. Slater needed 20 pitches to close the door, throwing 1.0 innings with one hit allowed and three strikeouts.
In his fourth start of the campaign, Manning pitched a career-high 4.1 innings. He allowed just one earned run on three hits and two walks while striking out five.
Purnell (2-0) earned his second win of the season, shooting 3.2 shutout frames on two hits with a career-high four strikeouts. The performance extended Purnell’s career-opening scoreless innings streak to 14.0 frames in seven appearances (all this season).
Garland (2-1) received the loss for Miami. The right-hander lasted just 2.1 frames, giving up four earned runs on five hits and one walk with one strikeout.
Halter (2 for 5) and Langford (3 for 3) recorded multiple hits in the victory.
- Purnell extended his career-opening scoreless innings streak to 14.0 frames in seven appearances (all this season).
- Purnell has 14 strikeouts and just one walk this year.
- After hitting his first home run of the season in Game 2, Calilao went deep for the second straight day with a solo steal in the sixth inning.
- After Friday’s series-opening loss, Florida beat Miami, 19-4, to win the final two games.
- After today’s game, Florida is now 130-133-1 including 51-81 on the road against Miami.
- Florida has now won seven of the last eight series against Miami.
- Gators are 37-16 against Canes under head coach Kevin O’Sullivan.
- Florida has won eight of the last 11 meetings against Miami.
- The loser of Game 1 between Florida and Miami has won three of the last four series.
- The Gators have won nine of their last 10 games overall.
- Thompson and Halter extended their season-opening streaks to 13 games.
- Halter has a 15-game hitting streak since last season.
- Langford now has an eight-game hitting streak.
- Manning pitched a career-high 4.1 innings.
FROM HEAD COACH KEVIN O’SULLIVAN
Battling off a series-opening loss to beat Miami 19-4 in the final two games…
“Well I think a lot of things happened this weekend. I think the first thing was we raced [Carson] Palmquist’s pitch matters. And then we had a really good round against [Gage] Ziehl, who threw 32 pitches. So going into yesterday’s game, and obviously they went to [Andrew] Walters, he had 46 pitches on Friday. So going into yesterday’s game, if Brandon [Sproat] could give us a good start, which he needed because their starter was just as good, so that would set us up for the weekend. And then going into today, I swung the bats well. Obviously, I arrived early on the board. We started quickly offensively. But we knew if we could get to Garland it would put them in a bit of a tight spot when it came to throwing, and maybe Ziehl would stay out. Walters was probably going to be available for an inning, but our offense really put us in a really good position to force them, get their starter out early and get to some of their other relievers. »
On the impact of Blake Purnel and Nick Ficarrotta efficiency at the start of the season…
“I think that was the message. Fic was great last night and he came into a really crucial situation… Purnell, he was great today too. And I’m really happy. I don’t want to misstate that, I I’m really glad I came here because it’s a challenge for us, to go on the road for the first time and win a series. But quite honestly, we need other people to help us. C was the message in there. I expect us to win every series that we play. And that’s not going to happen, but I want us to have that mentality and I think for the most part we are mentally well placed when it comes to believing in us and thinking we can play anyone. But the thing is, it can’t always be Fic and Purnell. We need other guys to step in, that’s is the essential…”
On what he learned about his team on that road trip…
“I don’t know – we played against a very good Miami team. We faced two very good starters and then a very good closer. And we showed resilience. We lost Game 1, came back and We won the next two. So, I don’t want to give the impression that I’m unhappy with the end result of the weekend, but I’m looking at the bigger picture…”
Florida returns home for a two-game midweek series against Jacksonville. Both matches kick off at 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, broadcast live on SEC Network+.