GAINESVILLE, Fla. – No. 10 Florida pounded out 12 hits to earn a 9-6 midweek victory over Stetson at Florida Ballpark on Tuesday night. With the victory, the Gators (31-13, 13-8 SEC) have now won 15 of their last 17 games at home including nine of their last 10.
Sterlin Thompson led the offensive charge for the Gators, tying his career high in hits with a 3-for-4 performance and scoring two runs while driving in one. Kris Armstrong stayed red hot at the plate as well, hitting his third home run in the last four games in the eighth inning to finish 1-for-4 with two RBI and one run, including the game-winning RBI in the fourth inning.
Stetson (23-18, 9-6 ASUN) struck first, plating two runs on a pair of solo shots by Andrew MacNeil and Hernen Sardinas in the first inning. The early lead would prove to be the Hatters’ only of the game, with Florida erasing the Stetson advantage in the second frame.
The Gators quickly responded for three runs in the bottom of the second, scoring the first on an RBI double off the bat of Thompson. Colby Halter then followed with a run-scoring double to straightaway center, before Jacob Young put the Gators on top with an RBI single to left center to make it a 3-2 game.
In the third, Stetson knotted the game at three runs apiece on a Banks Griffith RBI single, but the Gator pitching staff put the Hatters on lockdown from that point forward. Trey Van Der Weide and David Luethje were particularly brilliant on the mound, combining for 4.2 shutout innings of relief in the middle innings.
After a big weekend in which he batted .385 with two homers and five RBI, Armstrong continued to be a run producer on Tuesday night. With the game still tied in the fourth, Armstrong delivered what would eventually become the game-winning RBI with a sacrifice fly to left, effectively plating Young to make it 4-3.
Florida poured it on in the fifth, rallying for four runs. Josh Rivera got the scoring started, driving in Thompson with a single through the left side. With two men on, Nathan Hickey doubled to right center, bringing home both Young and Halter. Jud Fabian provided the finishing touches in the inning with an RBI double to left field to plate Hickey and extend the Gator lead to 8-3.
Florida held their five-run advantage up until the top of the eighth, when Eric Foggo used an infield single to cut the Stetson deficit to four. The Gators went back up by five in the bottom half of the frame, as Armstrong launched a moonshot to right to bring the score to 9-4.
Stetson added two last-effort solo home runs to right field in the top of the ninth, but Florida finished the job for a 9-6 midweek victory at Florida Ballpark.
Van Der Weide earned the win, pitching 2.2 scoreless innings and allowing just three hits while striking out three. Christian Scott received the save, tossing two innings and allowing two earned runs on four hits while striking out one.
Hatters reliever Nick Long was saddled with the loss, finishing with 1.2 innings pitched and one earned run on four walks.
- Florida has now won 15 of their last 17 games at home including nine of their last 10.
- Hickey went 2-for-4 with a walk to increase his active reached base streak to a career-high 21 games.
- Armstrong homered for the third time in the last four games on Tuesday night.
- Thompson tied his career high with three hits in the game. His only other previous game with three hits came against Stetson back on April 6.
- Van Der Weide increased his scoreless innings streak to 6.2 innings across five relief appearances with 2.2 shutout frames.
FROM CATCHER NATHAN HICKEY
On the level of confidence that the series win over No. 2 Vanderbilt provided going into today… “It gave us a lot of confidence. We’ve always been good. We just needed that push that this is the real deal; we are the real deal. Hopefully, we can keep carrying this with us as we go on.”
On keeping an eye on the SEC standings… “Personally, I do not. I don’t know if other people do. I just try to go out each day and try to win. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing.”
On how the team feels heading into another SEC road series… “We’re excited. We’re going to go play Kentucky. They’re good this year. I don’t know where they are in the rankings. I don’t pay attention to that. But I know they’re pretty good. I have friends on the team. They’re excited. We’re excited. We want to go up there and win.“
Florida travels to Kentucky for a three-game series against the Wildcats this upcoming Thursday-Saturday. Game one will air on SEC Network at 7p.m. ET, while games two and three will stream live on SEC Network+ on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m., respectively.