A six-run fifth inning and dominant pitching lifted Florida (27-23) to a 7-1 victory over Florida Atlantic (28-20) on Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium. Sophomore left-hander Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.) (3-2) limited the Owls to one run and one hit over a career-high six innings and he was followed to the mound by freshman Danny Young (Boca Raton, Fla.), sophomore Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) and sophomore Johnny Magliozzi (East Milton, Mass.), who each threw a perfect frame. The Gators retired the final 13 FAU batters in securing head coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s 250th victory at Florida.
“I thought their starter [Jake Meiers] did a really nice job,” O’Sullivan said. “He threw some quality changeups and breaking balls and he kept the ball down, but Bobby [Poyner] matched him pitch-for-pitch. He pitched outstanding for us tonight. Our relief pitching was really good – holding a team like FAU to one run and one hit over nine innings. We were obviously pleased with the effort. There were a lot of big at-bats tonight. Credit their starter, he did a great job, but we hung in there and the fifth inning was a big one for us offensively.”
“I felt pretty good,” Poyner said. “I was trying to throw the ball to the plate and let the defense play. We made really good catches in the outfield, played really great on defense and didn’t make any errors.”
After Poyner retired the first six batters of the contest, senior Corey Keller drew a leadoff walk in the third inning and was sacrificed to second on a bunt by sophomore Ricky Santiago. A grounder by sophomore Mitch Morales pushed Keller to third base and senior Nathan Pittman gave the Owls a 1-0 lead with a base-hit into left field that brought home Keller. It was the visitors’ lone hit of the contest.
Florida threatened against senior Jake Meiers (4-3) with two down in the fourth, as sophomore Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) roped a single into left field and redshirt sophomore Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) earned a free pass. The right-hander had senior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) fly out to left field to end the inning.
The Gators moved in front in the fifth with six runs on four hits and an error to seize a 6-1 advantage. Sophomore Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) led off by being hit by a pitch and a fielder’s choice by freshman Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) was misplayed by Morales to give the hosts runners on the corners with none out. Senior Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) executed a squeeze bunt to bring across Tobias with the tying run.
Bader went to third on a wild pitch and freshman Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) (2-for-4) followed with an infield single and was able to take second on the play. Redshirt sophomore Bo Logan replaced Meiers (4.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER) and surrendered a two-run double into left center to sophomore Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) (2-for-5). Sophomore Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) stroked a single through the left side of the infield to move Turgeon to third and Logan had Shafer line out to second base for the second out. Florida scored its fourth run of the frame when Logan was charged with a balk and Powers increased the margin to 5-1 with an RBI single that plated Gushue. Senior Gregg Bennis took over for Logan (0.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 0 ER) and plunked Ramjit and Tobias to load the bases. Bader drew a walk to bring home Powers with the final run of the frame.
After Young threw a perfect seventh on six pitches, Ramjit clubbed a solo homer into the left-field bleachers with one down off of junior Andrew Archer to provide the Gators with a 7-1 margin. Ramjit’s fourth big fly of the campaign was his first since March 31 against Ole Miss. Tobias followed with a single into center field, Bader walked and Dent stroked a single into right field to fill the sacks with one down. However, the Owls worked out further trouble with a 1-2-3 double play.
Harris retired the Owls in the eighth on eight pitches and Magliozzi completed the game with a 10-pitch ninth to register the Gators’ second win in as many nights.
Florida returns to league play against Auburn (27-19/9-15 SEC) on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series at McKethan Stadium.
Courtesy of UF Communications