Freshman left-hander Danny Young (Boca Raton, Fla.) threw a career-high 5.2 scoreless innings and Florida (24-19/11-8 SEC) belted a season-high three homers in a 7-2 series-opening victory over Tennessee (17-23/5-14 SEC) on Friday night at McKethan Stadium.
Young (3-3) surrendered six hits in picking up his second SEC win, while the sophomore trio of Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) (2-for-4, two RBI), Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) (2-for-4, three RBI, two runs) and Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) (2-for-3, two runs) each went yard. The Gators have now claimed 10 of their last 11 outings and boast an eight-game winning streak at home.
“I thought Danny (Young) did a nice job,” Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “He threw strikes, and we got a couple of double plays. Overall, we threw strikes and only walked a couple of batters. (Justin) Shafer and (Taylor) Gushue both had a double and a home run apiece, and (Casey) Turgeon had another home run. But, I thought we swung the bats really well tonight. Eight out of the nine guys in the lineup got hits tonight. We threw all freshmen tonight, and on a Friday night in the SEC that doesn’t happen too often. Other than it getting a little sloppy in the ninth, it was a clean game and I was pleased by how we played tonight.”
Shafer opened the scoring with a leadoff homer in the second inning into the left-field bleachers off of Tennessee freshman right-hander Aaron Quillen (1-3). Shafer’s fourth big fly of the season was his first round-tripper since March 24 at Vanderbilt.
The Vols put their first two runners aboard in the third inning against Young, as sophomore Will Maddox (3-for-4) was hit by a pitch and freshman A.J. Simcox legged out an infield single to third base. Young induced a 3-6-3 double play ball from junior Scott Price (2-for-5), moving Maddox to third base. Freshman Christin Stewart drew a two-out walk for runners on the corners and Young had junior Pierce Bily pop up to Turgeon to end the frame.
Gushue cranked a three-run homer and freshman Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) had an RBI single in the bottom of the frame to expand Florida’s lead to 5-0. Freshman Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) started with a single just out of the reach of Vols’ junior second baseman Taylor Smart and moved to second on senior Cody Dent’s (Boynton Beach, Fla.) team-leading seventh sacrifice bunt. Bader went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Martin’s base-knock into left field. After Turgeon lined a single into right field, Gushue blasted his team-leading fifth homer over the wall in right field. Redshirt sophomore Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) later collected his fifth double of the season with two down, giving the Gators five hits in the inning.
“I was trying to be aggressive,” Gushue said about his three-run homer. “I just wanted to get the first strike I could handle and put a good swing on it and wanted to see it up. Good things happen when you do that.”
Freshman Vincent Jackson (3-for-4) began UT’s fourth with a single up the middle but Young had Smart hit into a 4-6-3 double play. Although junior Ethan Bennett tripled to center field, Young put another zero on the board by having sophomore Parker Wormsley ground out.
The Gators added two more runs in the fifth to increase their margin to 7-0. Turgeon belted his fifth homer of the year to right field with one down, matching Gushue for the top spot, and Gushue followed with his 11th double to the gap in left center field. Shafer collected his second extra-base hit of the game with a double down the left-field line that scored Gushue and prompted a pitching change. Sophomore Eric Martin took over for Quillen (4.1 IP, 10 H, 7 R) and a throwing error by Simcox allowed senior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) to reach base but Shafer was thrown out at the plate to complete the inning.
Young recorded the first two outs of the sixth but was struck with a line drive by Jackson and replaced by redshirt freshman Aaron Rhodes (Venice, Fla.). Over a career-high 5.2 shutout innings, Young scattered six hits, with two walks and one strikeout.
“Danny (Young) had an unbelievable start,” Gushue said. “He has a lot of fight in him; he hates losing. Just the little things set him off and that is good from a pitching standpoint. He can have that fire up there and it helps him gets through those tough situations.”
In the seventh, Wormsley reached on a one-out fielding error by Rhodes and went to third on a double by Maddox. Rhodes (1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 K) struck out Simcox and freshman Parker Danciu (Delray Beach, Fla.) came in and had Price ground out to keep the zeroes on the board.
After Danciu worked 1.1 scoreless innings and had a pair of strikeouts, freshman Tucker Simpson (Oxford, Ala.) came in for the ninth. The righty fanned Bennett but the batter was able to reach on a passed ball. A one-out double into right center by Maddox thwarted the shutout and Maddox took third on a wild pitch. An RBI grounder by Simcox finalized the 7-2 margin. Florida held an 11-10 advantage in hits.
Courtesy of UF Communications