Jacksonville Sports Day

No. 2 Florida Sweeps No. 1 Miami Behind Barco, Rivera

Photo by Tessa Mortensen/Miami Athletics

Florida locked up its first road sweep of in-state rival Miami since 2012, toppling the No. 1 Hurricanes, 5-3, Sunday behind an outstanding start from freshman left-hander Hunter Barco, and a pair of big hits from fellow freshman Josh Rivera.

The top-ranked Canes (4-3) got within a run late in Sunday’s series finale, but No. 2 Florida (8-0) held on to complete a sweep before 3,554 fans inside Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.

“We got swept last year here against NC State and I thought we did a pretty good job of bouncing back,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said. “This team is going to have to learn to do that.”

The No. 2 Gators jumped out to a 2-0 lead via two hits and a fielder’s choice in the first inning. Junior utility man Jordan Butler laced a double in the second at bat of the game, and sophomore outfielder Jacob Young extended his scorching-hot weekend (he finished the series seven of 13, good for a .538 average) with an RBI single three hitters later.

Rivera made it a 3-0 lead on the fifth pitch of the second inning, as he launched a no-doubt home run over the left field wall.

Sophomore outfielder Jud Fabian answered a fourth-inning sacrifice fly from Miami – the only run Barco allowed in 5.1 innings on the hill – with a towering solo home run over the scoreboard in left center, making it 4-1.

A Hurricanes two-run homer in the eighth created some drama, but Young and Rivera responded for the Gators in the top of the ninth. Young led off the frame with a double to right field, and Rivera drove him in with a two-out single up the middle.

Barco, who made his second career start, earned his first win of the year, allowing just one run on two hits and two walks. The Jacksonville, Fla., native struck out seven Hurricanes, including the last two batters he faced.

With the bases loaded in the fifth, a product of two hit batters and a single, Barco froze Hurricanes clean-up hitter Raymond Gil to end the inning. Barco took the hill to face the first batter of the sixth, and fanned lefty JP Gates before he turned it over to the bullpen.

Sophomore left-hander Ryan Cabarcas, a Pembroke Pines, Fla., native, earned the first save of his career, as he tossed a pair of scoreless, no-hit innings to seal the sweep.

Florida swept the Hurricanes for the fourth time under Coach O’Sullivan, with the other sweeps coming in 2011, 2012 (in Coral Gables), and 2017. The Gators have won 15 of the last 18 games in the series, have won each of the last six regular-season series, and are 34-13 against the Hurricanes under Coach O’Sullivan.

Florida’s all-time record against Miami improves to 127-130-1, and it is now 49-80 against the Hurricanes on the road.

Florida returns home Tuesday, seeking the fourth 9-0 start in program history in a 6 p.m. midweek game against Florida A&M. Miami is back in action Wednesday against USF. First pitch inside Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field is scheduled for 3 p.m.

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