The Florida Gators baseball team struggled at the plate in a split series last weekend at South Carolina. So much so that Kevin O’Sullivan held a meeting with his players and the position players took it one step further.
“We got a message from Sully and all the coaches,” sophomore outfielder Buddy Reed said. “Then we all took it upon ourselves to have meetings, sit down and talk about and watch film on what we’ve been doing and how we can change our approach.”
The No. 1 Florida Gators (38-7, 14-6 SEC) improved its midweek record to a perfect 13-0 on Tuesday night with a 7-1 win over Bethune Cookman (23-23), halting the Wildcats’ seven-game winning streak.
The Gators’ offense got going early when Reed reached on a bunt single, stole second and moved to third on a balk. Reed scored when JJ Schwarz singled up the middle to give the Gators a 1-0 lead. Bethune Cookman didn’t do itself any favors in the second. Mike Rivera singled with one out in the second and advanced to third on a throwing error, with Jeremy Vasquez reaching first on a fielder’s choice. Nelson Maldonado hit his sixth home run of the season, a fastball that he deposited into the left field bleachers, to extend the lead to 4-0. Buddy Reed singled, JJ Schwarz walked on four pitches and Pete Alonso brought both runners home with a double to left field. In total, Florida sent 10 batters to the plate, recorded three hits and five runs on two Wildcat errors.
“We need to support our pitchers,” Reed said. They’ve done a great job of shutting other teams down.”
The pitching staff did just that on Tuesday. Aside from a Michael Cruz solo home run — his 16th of the season — in the sixth, Florida’s pitching staff allowed just two hits all night. After having Sunday’s finale at South Carolina called due to weather, Kevin O’Sullivan used Tuesday’s matchup to get his staff some much-needed work.
Scott Moss drew his third start of the season, throwing three innings of hitless baseball before Frank Rubio — who gave up both hits on the night — replaced him. Brady Singer, Kirby Snead, Dane Dunning and Shaun Anderson combined to throw four innings of hitless baseball with four strikeouts and no walks to close out the game.
Florida will be back in action this weekend for a three-game series against Tennessee in Knoxville beginning on Friday at 6 p.m.