Pitchers’ Duel Goes in Favor of Florida as Alabama Baseball Falls, 2-1, to the Seventh-Ranked Gators
A pitchers’ duel between Alabama baseball and No. 7 Florida went in favor of the Gators, 2-1, on Friday evening at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Following the opener, the Crimson Tide sits at 19-30 on the season and 5-20 in Southeastern Conference play.
“That’s what a Friday night game is supposed to look like; you just wish you can come out on the other end,” said Alabama head coach Greg Goff. “Jake (Walters) threw really well tonight. His command was good, and he was really sinking his fastball. He was tremendous for us, and that’s the best I’ve seen him look all year.”
Alabama received a quality start from Jake Walters. The junior tossed 7.0 innings of one-run baseball, allowing only two hits and issuing a pair of walks while striking out a season-high tying eight batters. Walters’ lone mistake of the night came on a 3-1 pitch to JJ Schwarz for a solo home run in the seventh. Garrett Suchey (2-7) followed for the Tide, allowing the go-ahead run on one hit and a walk with two strikeouts for the loss.
Walters was matched by Florida starter Alex Faedo, who worked 7.0 innings and allowed only one run. Faedo gave up three hits and four walks with eight strikeouts to his name. Together, the two starters combined for 16 punchouts and collected a total of 11 one-pitch outs, with neither factoring into the decision.
“(Alex) Faedo was really good, too,” Goff said of the Gator starter. “We just didn’t get the big hit when we needed to. We had guys in scoring position, but we just didn’t get the big hit.”
The two teams went scoreless through the first three innings. In the bottom of the fourth, Alabama broke the tie to make it a 1-0 game. Kyle Kaufman began the scoring sequence, sending a one-out single to left. In the next at-bat, Cobie Vance delivered his lone hit of the night, an RBI-double down the line in left to score Kaufman and put the Tide in front by one.
The Gators broke into the scoring column in the seventh, using Schwarz’ solo homer to even the game at one apiece. Florida added one more in the ninth to take the lead. After a leadoff single to begin the inning, the Gators capitalized on errant throw on a pickoff attempt to place a man in scoring position. A wild pitch advanced the runner to third before a sacrifice fly brought him across to put Florida ahead, 2-1, going into the final half inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, Sam Finnerty reached on a one-out single, but Alabama was unable to bring him in, with pop-up and a strikeout ending the ballgame in favor of the Gators.
Alabama and Florida return to Sewell-Thomas Stadium tomorrow evening for a 6 p.m. CT matchup. The Crimson Tide will call on sophomore left-hander Dylan Duarte, while the Gators counter with sophomore righty Brady Singer. Fans can catch the Saturday contest on SEC Network+.