Photo By Jordan McPherson
Welcome to the second installment of the Florida Gators Baseball Week In Review. Every Monday, I will take a look back at the Gators’ performances, pull out some highlight performances and give a preview for what will be ahead in the following week.
Florida, ranked as high as No. 2 in the country, dropped its midweek road game against Jacksonville on Tuesday, 3-2, in walk-off fashion before coming back to Gainesville to sweep the Miami Hurricanes by scores of 1-0, 2-0 and 6-2. The series marked Florida’s first sweep over Miami since 2012 and the first time the Gators ever posted back-to-back shutouts against the Hurricanes in a rivalry dating back to 1940.
Player of the Week: Jonathan India
Jonathan India did it all for the Gators this week. While he only had three hits at the plate, the Coral Springs native and former American Heritage standout drove in three runs, including the sole run in Florida’s 1-0 win on Friday to open its series against Miami. He also hit a solo home run in the sixth inning on Saturday to provide the Gators with some insurance in their 2-0 win over the Hurricanes. India also made his presence felt in the field, going perfect on all 12 chances on defense while making a handful of difficult plays look routine. He started a critical inning-ending double play on Saturday when the Hurricanes threatened to score.
Pitchers of the Week: Alex Faedo and Brady Singer
It’s hard to argue that both Alex Faedo and Brady Singer had solid performances, so why devalue either of them? Faedo was an out away from a complete-game shutout to open the series against Miami, striking out eight batters while giving up just two hits and a walk. Singer followed suit the next day with 7 2/3 scoreless frames during which he recorded a career-best 11 strikeouts.
Hitter of the Week: Dalton Guthrie
Dalton Guthrie has been one of Florida’s more consistent players at the plate to open up the season. This week was no different. Guthrie, Florida’s starting shortstop and leadoff hitter in the lineup, went 6-for-14 at the plate (.429), drew three walks and scored a pair of runs over four games. He scored the lone run of Florida’s 1-0 win over Miami on Friday after Jonathan India’s single slipped past a diving Edgar Michelangeli in the third inning.
Top 3 Moments
1.) Byrne Baby Byrne: Despite Florida losing its midweek game against Jacksonville, sophomore Michael Byrne posted a solid first collegiate start on Tuesday. The 6-2 righty from Orlando twirled seven scoreless innings against the Dolphins before the bullpen erased his work. While he allowed the Dolphins to scatter seven hits over his time on the mound, Byrne struck out a career high eight batters in the start.
2.) Kolo Krushes First Hit: As the third-string catcher, Mark Kolozsvary doesn’t get many opportunities to show off his power at the plate. So when he earned the start as the designated hitter on Saturday against Miami, Kolozsvary made quick work. The junior broke open a scoreless game in the third inning when he belted a 2-1 pitch from Miami starter Jeb Bargfeldt into the left-field bleachers for his first home run -- and first hit -- of the season.
3.) Rubio Rebound: Frank Rubio was one of the two relievers who faltered in the ninth inning for Florida during its 3-2 midweek loss to Jacksonville, giving up a pair of singles before Andrew Baker came on and let all three runs come home for the walk-off. But Rubio, a former St. Thomas Aquinas standout, made up for it in the first two games against his hometown Miami Hurricanes. Rubio came on in relief for Alex Faedo in the ninth inning on Friday with a pair of runners on base and struck out Johnny Ruiz to seal the 1-0 win and earn his first save of the year. One night later, Rubio pitched a perfect ninth inning to seal the 2-0 victory on Saturday and earn another save.
A Closer Look: The Schwarz Slump
Junior catcher/designated hitter/first baseman JJ Schwarz opened the season on a high note, racking up four hits in his first two games. What happened after that is a stretch he would probably like to forget. The power hitter went 0 for his next 16 at-bats, drawing a pair of walks in the stretch while also striking out six times. Schwarz began to turn his fortunes around in the Sunday game against Miami, hitting a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning before hitting a single up the middle in the seventh. The slump lowered Schwarz’s batting average to a paltry .208, higher than only fellow catcher Mike Rivera (.200) among everyday starters.
The Week Ahead
Florida plays a home-and-home midweek series against UCF (in Gainesville Tuesday; in Orlando Wednesday) before hosting a three-game weekend series against Columbia. The UCF Knights are a perfect 7-0 on the year and are averaging 8.6 runs per game. The Columbia Lions out of the Ivy League open their season with the series against the Gators.