Brady Singer is already being looked at as a potential first round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. Saturday he showed it, throwing his first career complete game as the No. 12 Florida Gators (16-8, 2-3 SEC) beat No. 5 LSU (17-7, 3-2 SEC) 8-1 on Saturday.
Singer (3-1, 1.58) was dominant, holding the SEC’s second-best offense to just six hits. LSU manager Paul Mainieri has seen some great pitchers during his 10 years at LSU and more than 30 years coaching at the college level.
“I now know what it feels like for other teams that played against Aaron Nola,” Mainieri said of his former starter who was drafted in the 2015 MLB Draft. “ That’s the closest thing I’ve seen. He didn’t give you anything, he keeps pounding strikes, low strikes at 92-93 MPH, drops a little breaking ball in there and he didn’t walk a batter. He hit two, those were the only two free passes.”
Florida’s bats, which have laid dormant for most of the season sprung to life on Saturday.
Florida went down in order in the first inning but scored a run in each of the next four.
In the second Christian Hicks (1-3) was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Deacon Liput (1-2) led off the third with a single and stole second before scoring when Nelson Maldonado (2-2) singled up the middle. Florida made it 3-0 in the fourth after Ryan Larson (1-3) single, moved to third following two groundouts and scored on a wild pitch. The Gators extended the lead to 4-0 in the fifth after back-to-back doubles from JJ Schwarz (2-5) and Maldonado. Maldonado was called on to sacrifice bunt Schwarz over to third but fouled two pitches off before the double.
“You know I had a sac bunt on the first two pitches and I couldn’t get it down when I was up in the box,” Maldonado said. “I was like I had to do something to help out my team and that’s exactly what I did.”
Does that make up for not getting the bunt down?
“Yeah I think it evens out a little bit,” Maldonado responded.
Singer surrendered his lone run in the fourth inning but continued baffling Tiger hitters all afternoon.
“I told him just simplify things, sink the ball and be around the strike zone. No one can hit him. It’s nice,” Mike Rivera said. “When he’s throwing 97 and it’s sinking? Good luck.”
Luck wasn’t in LSU’s corner today.
The Gators tacked on an insurance run in the seventh off of a Mike Rivera double and three more in the eighth inning when LSU went deeper into its bullpen. The win gave Florida its first SEC series win of the season but that isn’t what Florida, who was swept last weekend, came into this weekend thinking about.
“We’re here for the sweep,” Singer said. “We’re not here just to win two.”