- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- All Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan wanted was just one run.
Trailing 2-0 with two runners on with one out in the bottom of the third inning against rival Florida State, getting one run was the goal to stop the Seminoles' momentum. Preston Tucker gave O'Sullivan what he wanted -- plus two more. The senior right fielder hit a three-run homer over the right-field wall to spark the Gators to a 9-2 victory in front of a McKethan Stadium-record crowd of 6,005 Tuesday night.
"We were down two runs at the time," said Tucker, who is second on the team with 16 RBIs and six home runs. "We were trying to at least get one across. He left it up a little bit and I put a good swing on it."
The victory snapped a two-game losing streak to Florida State. It also was UF's 14th win in a row, which tied a school record set in 2001 and 2004.
Tucker's homer loosened up UF's offense. Nolan Fontana drove in a run in the fourth on a groundout and another in the sixth on a solo home run. Mike Zunino drove in runs in the seventh on a sacrifice fly and in the eighth on a single. Daniel Pigott also drove in a pair of runs in the eighth on a single.
While the top-ranked Gators (16-1) were rolling offensively, the sixth-ranked Seminoles (14-2) couldn't solve UF's bullpen. UF relievers Greg Larson, Steven Rodriguez, Daniel Gibson and Austin Maddox limited FSU to just two hits in 6.1 innings and at one point retired 12 consecutive batters until Sherman Johnson's one-out single in the eighth.
FSU got two runners on in that inning, but Maddox came on and retired four consecutive hitters to finish the game.
"One of the strengths of our team is one through nine, it's a pretty deep lineup," O'Sullivan said. "Our bullpen is good, so when we do fall behind we have multiple guys we can go to kind of settle things down and give our offense a chance to get into it."
The only runs FSU got came because of a throwing error in the third inning. FSU's Devon Travis bunted a ball down the third-base line, and Josh Tobias's throw was late and a little wide. Travis collided with first baseman Taylor Gushue's glove, and the ball bounced into foul territory, which allowed Stephen McGee and Johnson to score.
21hAlex Scarborough and Greg Ostendorf
7dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough