No. 7 Florida outlasts Alabama in pitching duelBy Cody Estremera | 05/12/2017 10:43pm
Game one of Alabama's final home stand set the tone for the rest of the series. Alabama, who had just won its first SEC series against rival Auburn, sent its ace Jake Walters to the mound to face Florida’s ace Alex Faedo.
The two aces went pitch for pitch through seventh innings. The two combined for 16 strikeouts while allowing just five hits and two runs. Walters finished with one run off two hits in his seven innings, striking out eight, while Faedo went seven innings and allowed one run off three hits, also striking out eight.
“That’s what people come to see,” head coach Greg Goff said. “Two tremendous arms going at each other. Jake threw really well tonight, and Faedo did too.”
Neither pitcher would finish with a decision in the Gators’ 2-1 win. Guarrett Suchey finished with the loss, while Michael Byrne finished with the win. Alabama fell to just 5-13 in one run games after the loss, and 5-20 in the SEC.
Faedo shut down the Crimson Tide the first time through the lineup. He sat down the first 10 batters of the game before Kyle Kaufman singled up the middle to break up the no-hit bid. Kaufman was followed up by Cobie Vance, who doubled down the left field line scoring Kaufman.
“He [Faedo] really attacked with fastballs [the first time through the order],” Vance said. “We put some good swings on him early, and the balls just weren’t falling. The second time through, we had a good plan to jump on fastballs.”
Walters’ only blemish was a home run to JJ Schwartz. The home run hit halfway up the scoreboard in left field, and for Schwartz, it was his eighth of the season passing his total from last year.
With the game tied in the top of the ninth, Dalton Guthrie led off with a single up the middle. He advanced to second on a throwing error by Suchey. After a strike out and intentional walk, Suchey threw a ball in the dirt, getting by catcher Alex Webb. Guthrie advanced to third on the wild pitch, and would come in to score the winning run off a Nelson Maldonado sacrifice fly.
The Gators put on a defensive show case. Guthrie had two highlight plays, the first coming in the second inning. He made a sliding stop up the middle, spun and threw out Webb. The other was in the bottom of the sixth. Guthrie made a diving stop and threw out Chandler Avant from the ground. Jonathan India added to the showcase with his highlight play in the bottom of the ninth. Connor Short lined a ball in the hole between third and shortstop, to be stopped by India, which looked exactly like Guthrie’s play in the second inning.
“I thought they made a couple really good plays,” Goff said. “Their shortstop [Guthrie] made a couple plays that I thought were hits. They defend the field very well.”
Dylan Duarte starts for the Crimson Tide in game two of the series, while Brady Singer starts for the Gators. First pitch is at 6 p.m.