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Friday, July 01, 2022

Florida survives Jacksonville for sixth straight win

Despite needing seven pitchers on Tuesday, the Gators outlast the Dolphins 8-7 after an early three-run deficit.

<p>Sophomore second baseman Sterlin Thompson delivered a walk-off home run against FSU Tuesday.</p>

Sophomore second baseman Sterlin Thompson delivered a walk-off home run against FSU Tuesday.

Jordan Carrion threw one pitch on his 20th birthday, but it was enough for his first collegiate save.

Carrion entered Florida’s Tuesday contest against Jacksonville in the bottom of the ninth inning and recorded the final out to preserve the 8-7 lead and the Gators six-game win streak.

Florida’s offense showed up to play against Jacksonville, with 13 hits and eight runs despite failing to capitalize on every opportunity it created. 

Freshman right fielder Sterlin Thompson sent a fly ball to right-center field and over the fence for a two-run homer in the top of the second inning.

Florida loaded the bases in the third for freshman third baseman Colby Halter, who singled home a pair of runners. A batter later, second baseman Cory Acton plated the third run of the inning with a single.

Sophomore left fielder Jacob Young went down looking for a strikeout to end the third. He stranded three Gators with the bases loaded as Florida failed to capitalize further. It loaded the bases again the following inning before a Thompson groundout cut down the inning short.

The offensive onslaught continued in the fifth inning. Acton and Halter led the inning with a pair of doubles to left-center to inch the Gators ahead 6-5. 

At the top of the order, Young and first baseman Nathan Hickey found their first hits of the night. After a Young blooper to right field put men on the corners, Hickey came inches from a home run when his fly ball hit the top of the wall. His double brought home Florida’s seventh run of the game.

Despite the explosion from the batter’s box, Florida’s arms never stabilized and kept the Dolphins in the game longer than they deserved.

The Dolphins flew out of the gates after a pair of hits and a walk loaded the bases in the opening inning. Junior outfielder Duncan Hunter reeled everybody home with a double to gift Jacksonville a 3-0 lead.

JU’s Jesus Pacheco, who tallied a hit in every game against Florida a month ago, tied the game with a 2-RBI double in the bottom of the fourth.

Those were 60% of the Dolphins hits on Tuesday. Yet they kept scoring runs. 

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JU tied the game again in the bottom of the inning without a hit, with three walks and two hit batters before the side could finally be retired.

Florida recorded 13 hits on the night, more than double Jacksonville’s meager five. Yet the game sat 7-7 after six innings.

Young and Hickey delivered one final in the seventh. A walk from Young and a single from Hickey put runners on the corners. A McMullen groundout later, the Gators commanded the lead for good.

After Florida struggled on the mound the entire day, lefty Ryan Cabarcas came through when the Gators needed it most. He entered the game in the bottom of the eighth and retired the first five batters he faced.

The southpaw walked the tying run aboard and couldn’t finish the game, but Jordan Carrion rallied for the final out on his first pitch of the game.

The Gators, now 26-11, ride into Auburn this weekend in hopes of continuing their recent run. The Tigers sit 2-13 in the SEC and provide ample opportunity to snowball momentum before the season’s final stretch.

Contact Ryan Haley at rhaley@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @ryan_dhaley

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Ryan Haley

Ryan Haley is a second-year journalism major with a sports & media specialization from Jacksonville, Florida. He grew up playing a bunch of different sports before settling on golf, following Rory McIlroy and all Philadelphia sports teams. He also loves all things fiction, reading, watching shows and movies and talking about whatever current story or character is in his head.


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