Apparently the Florida Gators (28-15, 13-6 SEC) should just stick to playing FSU and their SEC schedule. After two disappointing performances during the week, Florida bounced back behind the arm of freshman sensation Logan Shore and the bat of freshman designated hitter Peter Alonso to take down the Missouri Tigers (19-21,6-13 SEC) on Friday night, 7-1.
“We just wanted to put it behind us, forget about it,” senior catcher Taylor Gushue said of the two midweek losses. “It was embarrassing so we really wanted to just flip the page.”
Flip the page they did. Following a quiet first frame, Florida first baseman Zack Powers walked to the plate with runners on the corners and no outs. Powers lined a ball right at Tiger first baseman Kendall Keeton. Keeton fielded the ball, stepped on first and quickly tossed the ball over to third base for what appeared to be a triple play. Kevin O’Sullivan charged out of the dugout to say his piece and ultimately got his way after the umpires overturned the initial call.
“I thought the ball hit the ground. Obviously the first bas umpire doesn’t have the best view of that because he’s behind it,” Kevin O’Sullivan said of the strange play. “They got together and reversed the call. They’re explanation was that when the ball hit the ground, when the catch was made, the first base umpire called the out, the play was dead and Gushue didn’t touch home before that. That was their explanation.”
With the ruling overturned, Alonso put Florida on the board with a two-RBI single back up the middle. Alonso would go on to have a career-high five RBI on the night.
“Huge, that was probably the turning point of the game,” O’Sullivan said of the first two of Alonso’s five total RBI on the night.
With a two-run cushion Shore went to work, sitting down 10 of the next 11 Tiger batters he would face. He carried a shutout into the eighth inning before giving way to Kirby Snead. Shore finished the tenth start of his career with 7.1 innings pitched, giving up five hits, no runs and striking out five. It was another masterful performance from the freshman that continues to improve and impress as the season moves on.
“He did a magnificent job hitting his spots,” Alonso said of Shore. “He did a really good job of attacking all the hitters. He’s fearless when he’s on the mound, he doesn’t care who he’s going up against.”
Florida tacked on two more runs in the third inning on a single from Harrison Bader and a sacrifice fly off of the bat of Braden Mattson. Alonso tripled in the sixth inning, his first career triple and probably the only triple of his lifetime. “For me, those don’t happen that often. A triple is probably more rare than a home run. I’m pretty excited about that,” he said.
Missouri would score in the eighth before Alonso and the Gators answered back with a pair of runs to bring us to our final score of 7-1.
O’Sullivan will send sophomore Aaron Rhodes to the mound tomorrow to try and take the series against Missouri. The game will start at noon at McKethan Stadium.