JJ Schwarz had already struck out and grounded out twice in his three at-bats prior to the eighth inning.

With Florida and North Florida tied at 2-2 with runners on first and third in the eighth, the sophomore catcher chopped another grounder.

This time, though, it snuck past the shortstop for a single.

Schwarz’s run-scoring single gave Florida the 3-2 lead and would ultimately be the deciding factor, as the No. 1 Gators (13-1) defeated the Ospreys 6-2 at Harmon Stadium in Jacksonville on Tuesday night.

With the win, UF has now won its last seven games.

North Florida (6-7) set the tone early in the first inning.

After Dane Dunning walked UNF leadoff batter Kyle Brooks, Corbin Olmstead worked the count even to 2-2. Then, on a hanging breaking ball, Olmstead launched a two-run home run to left to put the Ospreys ahead 2-0.

Meanwhile, Florida didn’t record its first hit until the fourth inning.

Sophomore Dalton Guthrie led off with a double that rocketed past the third baseman. Then junior Buddy Reed laid down a bunt single to put runners on the corners for UF.

Following a Schwarz strikeout, junior Peter Alonso laced an RBI single to right field to plate Guthrie and cut UNF’s lead in half. But Florida’s hopes for more runs were put to rest when Jeremy Vasquez grounded into an inning-ending double play.

In the fifth inning, the Gators evened the score with more fundamental baseball.

Sophomore Mike Rivera led off with a pop up that fell down the right-field line for a double.

Following a Deacon Liput walk and a Ryan Larson sacrifice bunt that moved the runners over, freshman Jonathan India tied the game at 2-2 with a sacrifice fly to center to score Rivera.

In the eighth, Florida strung together five hits, including Schwarz’s single, to crank out four runs in the inning.

Guthrie roped a one-out double, which was followed by a Reed single. Then after Schwarz’s hit, Alonso crushed an RBI double over the left fielder’s head to boost Florida’s lead to 4-2.

Rivera followed an intentional walk to Vasquez with a two-run single to right field to plate the Gators’ final two runs.

Both Alonso and Rivera both finished 2 for 4 with two RBIs and a run scored.

On the mound, Dunning settled in nicely after the first inning.

The junior from Fleming Island, Florida, struck out a career-high 10 batters through six innings, allowing two runs. UF coach Kevin O’Sullivan said Dunning impressed him.

“Dane pitched really well tonight,” he said. “He had all three pitches working for him.”

Junior Kirby Snead relieved Dunning efficiently, needing just 18 pitches to shut the Ospreys down for the final three innings.

Between the sacrifice plays, the pitching and late rally in the eighth inning, O’Sullivan said the game was “one of the more complete games that we’ve played.”

The two teams will meet again tonight at 7, this time at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville. Freshman Jackson Kowar is scheduled to start on the mound for Florida.

A radio broadcast contributed to this report.

Contact Patrick Pinak at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @Pinakk12

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