The last bus ride from Tallahassee to Gainesville couldn’t have felt great for the Florida baseball team.
After a bumpy yet unconcerning non-conference slate, the Gators left Dick Howser Stadium with a 10-2 defeat and their tails between their legs.
Now, fresh from a weekend series loss to Tennessee, Florida looks to bounce back both in the rivalry series and their 2021 season with another SEC showdown looming with Missouri this weekend.
The Seminoles dished a majority of their damage early as they scored seven runs in the first two innings. Garrett Milchin, Florida’s starter, forced just five outs before he fell victim to eight early hits and left the mound.
Florida fared little better offensively. In 32 at-bats, the Gators struck out 16 times, their second-most in a nine-inning game in 2021. No Florida player connected for multiple hits, and sophomore left fielder Jacob Young and freshman shortstop Josh Rivera brought home the only two runs.
The Gators threw decently well from the bullpen, although one could argue how a 7-0 lead affected both teams’ mentalities. Graduate student Trey Van Der Weide, sophomore Christian Scott, junior Franco Aleman and freshman Jordan Carrion combined for two hits and a single earned runs in six total innings of work.
Florida State’s Robby Martin decimated the Gators with a bat in his hand. The sophomore outfielder launched a pair of home runs, a three-run bomb in the opening inning and a two-shot shot in the sixth, and amassed three hits and five RBIs on the night.
Martin batted .315 in FSU’s first 28 games, with a team-high 34 hits as well as six home runs, 31 RBI and a .528 slugging percentage.
The Seminoles’ biggest weapon at the plate is sophomore catcher Matheu Nelson. The 5-foot-11-inch backstop smashed the third-most home runs in the country (13), batted in the sixth-most runs (39) and owns the eight-highest slugging percentage with .812.
Only Texas Tech’s Jace Jung reached the top 10 in the country in all three stats.
Florida looks to reverse history in the upcoming matchup. Florida State ended the Gators’ perfect 16-0 start in 2020, the last game before COVID-19 pandemic finished the season.
UF hasn’t beaten its in-state rival since April 9, 2019, although it swept all three contests that year.
The rivalry resumes Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Contact Ryan Haley at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @ryan_dhaley
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.