GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A big fifth inning propelled No. 2 Florida to a 12-6 win over No. 7 Florida State Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium.
The Seminoles got off to a hot start as Rhett Aplin and Cal Raleigh hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning to start the game.
Aplin’s first of the season was a blast to right-center field that cleared the bullpen beyond the wall. Raleigh followed up with his second shot of the year, an opposite field bomb to right field, giving FSU a 2-0 lead.
“The big thing for me is just to square balls up, it’s something we work on every day,” Rhett Aplin said following the game. “The power has been there for us, but finally some hard hits are turning into home runs.”
After the Gators got on the board via a home run from Jonathan India in the 2nd inning, the Seminoles added two more in the top of the 3rd inning thanks to Aplin’s second home run of the game, a two-run blast to right field, pushing FSU’s lead to 4-1.
UF responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning to cut the lead to 4-3, with an RBI single and an RBI groundout.
The Gators took the lead and busted the game open in the 5th inning off Andrew Karp (3-1) with seven runs on five hits. Highlighting the big inning was a two-run double that blooped over Drew Mendoza’s head at third and an RBI single.
Karp finished the game pitching 4.1 innings, giving up 8 hits and 7 earned runs. The redshirt sophomore from Winter Garden, Fla., walked two batters, while striking out two on 80 total pitches.
Florida added one more in the 7th inning, extending the lead to 11-4 with a sacrifice fly.
The Seminoles continued to fight as Mendoza lined a solo home run to right field, his first of the season, to cut the lead to six in the 8th. Reese Albert followed with an RBI double later in the frame, scoring Steven Wells and cutting the Gator lead to 11-6.
“I saw guys that would battle you in the box, that made me proud,” head coach Mike Martin said following the game. “Throughout the game we didn’t feel sorry for ourselves. I’m pleased with the attitude of this team.”
India responded with his second home run of the game for the Gators in the bottom half of the 8th, a towering solo blast to left field off CJ Van Eyk extending the lead to 12-6.
The loss drops Florida State to 14-3 on the season, while Florida improves to 16-3 in 2018. The Seminoles and Gators will meet again for the second of three games in Jacksonville on March 27.
Florida State hosts Notre Dame for a three-game ACC series beginning Friday at 6:00 p.m. Saturday’s game will begin at 2:00 p.m. and Sunday’s finale will start at noon. All three games will stream on the ACC Network Extra.
For more information on Florida State baseball, check Seminoles.com for the latest news and scheduling information, or keep up with the team on social media through Twitter (@FSUBaseball), Facebook (/FSUBaseball), and Instagram (@NoleBaseball).