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Florida baseball falls to Miami, forcing rubber match on Sunday

It was only a matter of time until Liam Peterson was tested by a good offensive team. His response to (and during) Saturday’s 10-6 loss against Miami is what matters more than the outcome of the game, especially considering he’s a freshman.

Peterson didn’t have his best stuff early. Perhaps the two balls put over the fence in the first two innings made that apparent. But he bounced back to record 10 straight outs, pitching through the fifth. His fastball was a little wild the hotter it came in. Living in the low 90s helped him regain that command, though.

Miami’s starter Rafe Schlesinger gave up a leadoff double to Cade Kurland, but he settled in with a nice fastball-slider mix after a double-play got him out of the first unharmed. A lefty with good movement on his fastball usually takes one time through the order to figure out, and that’s exactly how this one played out.

Ty Evans broke through for a second hit in the top of the fifth, and the snowball began rolling down the hill. Dale Thomas came through with his second home run of the year, a three-run shot. Jaylen Guy and Jac Caglianone single back-to-back, but Kurland and Luke Heyman struck out looking… neither agreed with the call.

Luke McNeillie took over for Peterson in the sixth and needed just 11 pitches to get out of the inning. Perhaps Miami should have gone to the bullpen too as Schlesinger gave up a soft-tapper single that never rolled foul to Thomas and hit Brody Donay, who pinch hit for Jaylen Guy — Michael Robertson replaced him on the basepaths and in center field.

Daniel Cuvet got to McNeillie in the seventh for a three-run shot, but Florida got those runs back in the eighth to keep the score manageable (9-3).

Frank Menendez — Florida’s resident Miamian — made his debut for the Gators in the eighth but only lasted two batters, neither of which he kept from reaching base. Kevin O’Sullivan had a short leash with him, giving Menendez the hook immediately after.

Replacing Menendez was Grayson Smith, who immediately hit a batter and gave up a run. With Miami in double digits, all that was left was the ninth. Florida went down without much of a fight.

The rubber match of the series is at 1 p.m. ET tomorrow. Jac Caglianone will be on the mound for Florida.

Story originally appeared on Gators Wire