Jacksonville Sports Day

Florida Shuts Out No. 3 Florida State 1-0 in Marquee Midweek Matchup

GAINESVILLE, Fla.—It was a classic pitcher’s duel Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium between No. 5 Florida and No. 3 Florida State and the Gators came out on top 1-0 courtesy of a check swing single from Mark Kolozsvary that scored the game’s only run.

“It was a good ‘ol pitchers duel. We had some young freshmen step up and grow up. Nate Brown, had a long talk with him yesterday, explained to him what exactly he needed to do to be successful and he went out and threw the ball great. Got through his pitch count, about 64 pitches, he probably could’ve went back out in the sixth but I wanted him to feel good about himself. Kirby came in and got an out and obviously Baker grew up a lot tonight,” said Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan. “He kept his emotions in check and made some quality pitches, threw a ton of strikes.”

Four UF freshmen combined to limit the Seminoles to just four hits and no runs on Tuesday. The shutout is Florida’s third-straight against its in-state rival dating back to last season’s Super Regional. FSU has not scored a run on UF in 31 consecutive innings.

Both starting pitchers were on in the early going. Florida’s Nate Brown pitched five scoreless innings with three hits allowed before he exited after the fifth.

Florida State’s Andrew Karp matched Brown for most of the night until the Gators managed a run off him in the seventh.

“We got beat by a team that played very well and they beat a good team that played very well,” head coach Mike Martin said after the game.

Karp’s earned run average lowered to 2.10 on the season and the right-handed hurler has now struck out 34 batters in 2017 (second on the team behind Tyler Holton) to just three walks.

“Andrew’s stock has gone off the chart, what a beautifully pitched baseball game,” Martin said on Karp. “He was in total check of his emotions, he was really, really impressive.”

“I felt good with everything. Fastball command, the slider and changeup were working,” Karp said. “It’s one of those games where everything is working and it just clicks.”

Karp’s fourth straight quality appearance has given his team confidence every time he takes the mound. For Karp, he’s just happy to be out there again, playing the game he loves.

“It’s crazy to think two and a half years ago I was right down the street at Shands (Hospital) for surgery on my broken leg,” Karp said. “Every time I go out there I just feel extremely thankful and blessed that I even get to play the game. It’s more just having fun for me and giving my team a chance to win.”

Florida had men in scoring position in the second and sixth innings, but could not advance a runner past second base either time.

The Seminoles had the first baserunner reach third base in the sixth inning, but freshman Andrew Baker got the Gators out of the jam after getting FSU cleanup hitter Cal Raleigh to groundout to third.

Baker continued to pitch well in the seventh, striking out all three batters he faced.

Florida finally broke the tie in the bottom of the seventh. India set the Gators up with a one-out double to right center. With two down, Mark Kolozsvary singled to shallow left and India came around to score to give UF a 1-0 lead.

After another scoreless inning from Baker in the eighth, freshman Tyler Dyson entered to close out the game in the ninth and retired the side in order.

“I had a decision to make there in the ninth because Baker was cruising, with Busby leading off then Aplin next and the switch hitter Raleigh, if you get a chance you want to turn Raleigh around right-handed. In thinking about it before the bottom of the ninth, this is hard, because this is an important game to a lot of people and you want to always beat one of your rivals, but the development of the pitching staff and our team, it was important to get Tyler Dyson out there. If we can get a guy like him at the end of the game, in a game like this, obviously it’s going to help us moving forward,” added O’Sullivan.

Florida opens Southeastern Conference play this weekend with a trip to Auburn for a three-game series against the Tigers. The loss moves FSU to 13-4 on the year and Florida State will travel to Fort Myers for a match with No. 22 Florida Gulf Coast at JetBlue Park on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and Seminole fans can tune into 106.1 FM to catch the action.

Notes: The last time Florida State was shutout 1-0 in a game was against Virginia on May 13, 1994…..Florida State committed zero errors against Florida, the fifth time this season the Noles have played an error-free game….Karp’s 11 strikeouts are tied for the second-most on the team this season. Tyler Holton threw 13 strikeouts against Oakland and 11 against Samford. Last season, no Seminole had a double-digit strikeout game…J.C. Flowers’ bunt single in the fifth inning was his second of the season and the Seminoles’ ninth bunt single as a team in 2017.

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