GAINESVILLE, Fla. — One strike. That’s how close the Gators were to having Miami even this weekend’s series, and needing a win in a Sunday rubber match to take a sixth consecutive regular-season series from their in-state rival. That did not matter to sophomore outfielder Jud Fabian, who smacked an RBI double to tie the game at 2-2 in the ninth inning. The floodgates then opened in the 10th inning following senior Kirby McMullen’s go-ahead solo home run, as Florida rolled to a 7-4 comeback victory. 

The Gators’ rally in the ninth began with a leadoff single from sophomore Kris Armstrong. A sacrifice bunt moved Armstrong into scoring position, but a strikeout brought Florida’s undefeated start down to its final out.

LATEST RANKINGS: Miami’s stint at No. 1 in D1Baseball.com poll short lived?
 
Prior to his at bat in the ninth inning, Fabian was just 1-for-8 in the series. Fabian fouled off a pair of 0-2 pitches and took a ball to make it a 1-2 count, after which he sent the game-tying shot down the third base line.

Two pitches into the 10th inning, McMullen blasted a no-doubt home run over the left field wall — the second of his career, and first since Feb. 27, 2019 against UCF — to put the Gators in front. A pair of walks, followed by three consecutive singles and a throwing error gave Florida a quartet of insurance runs.

GAME 1 RECAP: Florida holds off Miami 2-1 in 11 innings on Friday

Florida has won its last three games in extra innings, marking the second time in school history it has played and won three straight games in extra innings. The only other occurrence in program history was in 2014, when three games against Connecticut went to extras, with Florida winning 1-0 (March 7), 2-1 (March 8), and 6-5 (March 9) in Gainesville. The Gators last played at least three extra innings games in a season in 2017 (they played seven, going 3-4 in those games).

The win also takes Florida to 7-0 for just the third time in head coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s 13 seasons, with the other two starts coming in 2011 and 2018.
 
Before the extra frame, Florida and Miami were locked in another pitching duel. Junior Jack Leftwich tossed six innings and allowed just one run, striking out six — two of which came in the sixth inning, with the potential tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position.
 
Sophomore Nick Pogue continued his hot week with a scoreless, three-strikeout eighth inning. Fellow sophomore Ben Specht picked up the win for the second straight night, as he tossed the final two innings and smacked an RBI single amid UF’s five-run 10th inning.
 
STANDOUT STAT: 2-42. Florida’s record when trailing after eight innings for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
 
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Jacob Young. Fabian’s and McMullen’s heroics make for obvious choices, but O’Sullivan credited Young with getting the Gators going offensively early in the game. Young finished 2-for-5 Saturday night, and he’s hitting a team-high .500 (5-for-10) in the series.

 

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