Jackson Kowar took the mound in front of dozens of Major League Scouts and Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox. Kowar is a sure-fire first round draft picks this year but Siena wasn’t intimidated.
Jordan Bishop jumped on a first pitch fastball and doubled to left center with one out and 6-3, 280 pound first baseman Joe Drpich took Kowar deep to left field to give the Saints a 2-0 win. Kowar struggled to get out of the inning, needing 23 pitches to get out of the initial frame.
“People know we’re going to throw strikes and be around the plate,” Kevin O’Sullivan said. “They had a good gameplan.”
Kowar contested that he left a couple of fastballs up early on in the game but really worked into a groove and gave the scouts the kind of performance they came to see.
Kowar lasted seven innings and threw 89 pitches. The efficiency of that is astounding when you consider he struck out 10 and needed 23 pitches to get out of the first inning alone. Kowar worked a clean second before giving up two hits in the third. Then he finished his night by retiring 14 consecutive batters.
The change from the first inning to the second was just a matter of tempo in his delivery.
“His tempo started to get a lot better,” catcher JJ Schwarz said of Kowar. “I thought that was a big step for him. Hopefully he can continue that into the season.”
O’Sullivan explained later that when Kowar’s tempo (the speed of his windup and delivery) gets slow his arm tends to drag, which leads to leaving fastballs up in the zone and hanging off-speed pitches.
With Kowar throwing a gem the Gators’ offense took over. Florida scored one run in the first and then a four-spot in the second to take the lead for good.
Blake Reese led the frame off with a double and moved to third after a strikeout and a Nick Horvath single. Horvath got him self into scoring position by stealing second and both he and Reese scored on a fielding error that allowed Jonathan Inida to reach base. Schwarz made Siena pay for the error when he launched his first home run to left center, giving the Gators a 5-2 lead.
The Gators added one more run in the fourth. Horvath(3-4, 3 runs) led the inning off with a double. Austin Langworthy moved him over with a sacrifice bunt before Jonathan India was hit by a pitch to give Florida men on the corners. Schwarz ripped a ball off of the third baseman’s glove for a RBI single.
Sophomore transfer Wil Dalton hit a home run into the visitor’s bullpen for his first career home run and Keenan Bell snapped an 0-7 streak with a home run, his first hit of the season, in the eighth to cap the scoring at 10-2.
The Gators will look for a series sweep Sunday at 1 pm.