GAINESVILLE, Fla. – It turns out No. 5 Florida State can win games away from Dick Howser Stadium, too. And against its arch-rival, no less.
Luke Weaver held Florida without an earned run in 6 1/3 innings of work.
Sophomore right-hander Luke Weaver kept Florida at bay for 6 1/3 innings and the Seminoles' offense got the production it needed for a 4-1 victory over the Gators in front of 4,709 here at UF's McKethan Stadium.
Weaver surrendered just three hits and a single, unearned run for the No. 5 Seminoles, who stretched their winning streak to 16, earned their first triumph away from home and ended a five-game losing streak in Gainesville.
“I'm obviously very excited because it's been a long time,” FSU coach Mike Martin said. “It's been tough down here.”
Mixing a mid-90s fastball with an effective change-up and slider, Weaver (3-0) kept Florida's lineup silent for most of the evening.
The Deland native retired nine of the first 10 Gators he faced, including a stretch of five straight, struck out five and only issued two walks.
And were it not for an error receiving the ball from first baseman John Nogowski on what should've been a routine put-out, Weaver might have held Florida (8-10) scoreless.
“It's big, coming in here,” said Weaver, who threw 102 pitches. “I was not nervous, but pumped up, ready just to get out here and get it over with and try to get a 'W' for the team.”
Gio Alfonzo's two-run single in the fourth inning extended FSU's lead.
“He really was impressive,” Martin said of his starter. “With three pitches, fastball to location. It was really one of his better outings, especially under these conditions.”
Catcher Stephen McGee gave FSU (16-0) a quick lead with a two-out single that scored Marcus Davis from second base.
The Seminoles added more in the fourth inning when shortstop Gio Alfonzo sent a two-strike fastball into right field for a two-run single.
“He came out with two fastballs right away and I was tardy on them,” Alfonzo said. “I just slowed myself, I didn't want to get too big with two strikes. I said, 'Calm down, see it, try to hit a ground ball to second base and bring in a run.' That's all I was thinking about there.
“But he left it up and, luckily, I hooked it over down the line.”
FSU scored once more, in the sixth inning, when Florida pitcher Ryan Harris hit Josh Delph while the bases were loaded.
Alfonzo, who has started each of the past 11 games in place of the injured Justin Gonzalez, went 2-for-4 at the plate and also drove a ball to the warning track that was hauled in by UF left fielder Connor Mitchell.
With Gonzalez's future still uncertain, Martin said he's pleased with the way Alfonzo has stepped in for the senior.
“I'm seeing a young man become very comfortable with himself out there and we're just very excited with the progress he's making,” Martin said. “Because there's a good chance that he will be our short stop.”
Martin then turned to junior Robby Coles for his first appearance away from home. Coles then promptly hit UF's Taylor Gushue with his first pitch and loaded the bases with two outs.
But with .308 hitter Vickash Ramjit representing the go-ahead run at the plate and the swarm of Gator fans finally coming to life, Coles coaxed a grounder to short that ended the inning and put a stop to Florida's last offensive gasp.
Coles pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his second save of the season as well as plenty of admiration from his head coach.
“Robby Coles hasn't (pitched on the road) and he was the one that was so impressive tonight,” Martin said. “For Robby to come in and do what he did, that's so encouraging to us, to see him grab the bull by the horns and get his team on the bus to go home.”
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