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Saturday, May 25, 2024

No. 5 Florida picks up midweek victory against North Florida

Gators lose 15-game home run streak but beat Ospreys

Florida shortstop Josh Rivera throws the ball in the Gators' loss to the Miami Hurricanes Saturday, March 4, 2023.
Florida shortstop Josh Rivera throws the ball in the Gators' loss to the Miami Hurricanes Saturday, March 4, 2023.

North Florida sophomore starting pitcher Clayton Boroski dealt early in the game for the Ospreys.

The sophomore pitcher worked four straight 1-2-3 innings to open the game and didn’t allow a Gator on base to that point. 

Florida junior shortstop Josh Rivera earned a walk in the fifth inning and offensive pandemonium followed. Four Gators scored that inning, two of them on a base-clearing triple by sophomore catcher Rene Lastres.

“He threw me a first-pitch heater, and I just jumped on it,” Lastres said. 

The triple put Florida ahead and helped secure the midweek game victory.  

The No. 5 Florida Gators (15-3) defeated the North Florida Ospreys (10-7) 7-2 at Condron Ballpark Tuesday evening. The Gators had their second game of the season without a home run but cruised to victory with a late-inning offensive effort. 

UNF got off to a quick start on both sides of the field. Junior second baseman Aiden Sweatt led off for the Ospreys and was hit by a pitch to reach first base. The junior rounded the bags after a single advanced him to third. Junior catcher Jakob Runnels hit a fielder’s choice run-batted-in ground ball to shortstop. 

Florida opened its offense with strikeouts from freshman center fielder Michael Robertson and freshman second baseman Cade Kurland. Osprey sophomore ace Clayton Boroski completed a 1-2-3 first, second, third and fourth inning. 

Florida pulled righty sophomore Tyler Nesbitt at the start of the third inning and put in sophomore righty Fisher Jameson. The sophomore gave up two singles in fewer than ten pitches and allowed one run to score on a double by sophomore right fielder Cade Reich. 

Jameson limited his pitching mistakes for the remainder of his stint and pitched scoreless fourth and fifth innings. He allowed one runner to reach in the fourth inning, but they were caught stealing by Gators sophomore catcher Rene Lastres. 

The bats started to heat up in the bottom of the fifth inning for Florida. Junior shortstop Josh Rivera reached first base with a leadoff walk and ended Boroski’s perfect game. Senior first baseman BT Riopelle followed with a single. Sophomore right fielder Ty Evans added to the run with an RBI single to bring Rivera home. 

North Florida interim head coach Tim Parenton replaced Boroski with senior lefty reliever Tony Roca. The senior recorded a groundout on the first batter but gave up a bases-clearing triple by Lastres to score two runs and give the Gators their first lead of the night. 

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The catcher had a consistent mindset all night. “Go out there with aggressiveness. Just go out there and attack,” Lastres said. 

Freshman center fielder Michael Robertson brought Lastres home with a single to right field. The freshman was caught stealing during the next at-bat.  

Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan pulled Jameson and put sophomore righty Nick Ficarrotta on the mound to start the sixth. Ficarrotta retired his first three batters in the sixth inning and worked through a nearly perfect seventh inning, in which he allowed just one hit. 

“He was outstanding,” O’Sullivan said. 

O’Sullivan saw improvement from Florida’s bullpen in recent games, he said. 

“They seem to be getting better,” O’Sullivan said. “Hopefully things continue to go in the same direction.” 

Meanwhile, Florida's hot offense continued. UF added two more runs in the sixth off a single by Evans.

The right fielder completed his trip around the bases with a delayed steal attempt. Evans patiently waited for Florida sophomore left fielder Deric Fabian to steal second and stole home when the Ospreys catcher attempted to gun down the left fielder. The Gators led 7-2. 

Ficarrotta pitched one more clean inning and set up sophomore righty relief pitcher Brandon Neely for the close. The sophomore walked one batter and another reached base due to an error by Evans in right field. Neely forced a ground ball for the third out and secured the win for Florida. 

The Gators’ next matchup will be against the No. 24 Alabama Crimson Tide to open Southeastern Conference play. 

The three-game series will start Thursday at Condron Ballpark. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. and will be broadcasted on SEC Network. 

Contact Luke Adragna at Follow him on Twitter @lukeadrag.

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Luke Adragna

Luke Adragna is a third-year journalism student and the Florida Gators football reporter at The Alligator. He is a cat ethusiast and completes the NYT Daily Mini in less than a minute each day.

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