Brian Johnson and freshman phenom Taylor Gushue produced nine RBI for the No. 1 Gators (9-1) as they clinched the series against eighth ranked Miami (8-2), 13-5. Johnson had a career high four hits and five RBI and Gushue belted two long homers, going 3-for-4 with four RBI, a career best for his young career. Greg Larson (1-0) came in for relief and retired all 14 batters he faced, striking out four in 4 2/3 innings of work. Eric Whaley (1-1) took the loss for the Hurricanes, allowing eight runs (seven earned) on ten hits in 4 1/3 innings of work. The win marked Florida's tenth straight win over Miami, and marks only the sixth time the Gators have won a series against the 'Canes in Coral Gables.
UM jumped to a lead in the first when Peter O'Brien cranked a two-run homer to give the home team a 2-0 lead. O'Brien delivered again in the third inning to stretch the lead to 3-0 with an RBI single.
Florida struck back in the top of the fourth. The Gators used back-to-back home runs by Johnson, who also started the game, and Gushue to knot the game at three. In the process, Mike Zunino stretched his hitting streak to thirteen games. Miami took the lead back in the bottom of the inning on a two-run blast by Stephen Perez, 5-3.
That's when the Gators took over from the plate. UF batted around in the fifth and scored five runs to take the lead for good. Nolan Fontana started the scoring off when Miami's Michael Broad misplayed a Zunino grounder. Johnson once again came through with an RBI single to tie the game again. With two men on base, Gushue cranked a three-run blast over the parking garage in right to put the Gators up for good, 8-5.
In the sixth, Johnson hit a bases loaded single, scoring two to put Florida into double digits. Next inning, Florida scored again on a Miami miscue when Josh Tobias scored on a Perez error. The Gators added another run in the eighth on a sac fly by Tobias. Finally, the Gators scored the final tally in the ninth on a Zunino grounder that scored Fontana to bring the game to 14-5.
For the game, UF set a season high in hits (16) and runs (13), while earning their fifth come from behind victory in the early season. The Gators also have hit a home run in nine out of ten games this year.
Sunday's game gets an early start at 1 p.m. The Gators have yet to name a starter, although it will most likely be Karsten Whitson (1-0, 4.76 ERA) and the 'Canes will send Bryan Radziewski (1-0, 5.59 ERA). The game will be televised on Fox Sports Florida.