Freshman right-hander Logan Shore earned his league-leading sixth conference victory of the season in a 7-3 road win against Alabama. Shore threw six strong innings, giving up five hits, no runs and striking out three.
“It’s pretty incredible what Logan [Shore] has been able to do on Friday nights in the league,” manager Kevin O’Sullivan said after the game. “He goes out and competes as a freshman against some of the best hitters in the country and continues to get outs. It’s special to watch.”
The series opener between two of the best teams in the SEC was billed as a pitching duel. For five scoreless innings it proved to be just that with Alabama starter Spencer Turnbull matching Shore pitch-for-pitch. Turnbull entered the contest with a 5-2 record and a slim 2.45 ERA.
It took Florida a while but they finally were able to wear Turnbull down in the fifth inning.
Freshmen Buddy Reed and John Sternagel kicked things off with a pair of walks to give the Gators two runners on and no outs. Casey Turgeon laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt and Tide second baseman Kyle Overstreet couldn’t make the play, throwing the ball away allowing Sternagel to reach third and Reed to cross the plate to break the stalemate. Harrison Bader singled up the middle two batters later to score Sternagel and give the Gators a two-run lead.
Florida tacked on a run in the seventh and three more insurance runs in the eighth. With a 6-0 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth, the outcome appeared to be a formality. That’s when Alabama began to climb back into the game.
Back-to-back singles chased Justin Shafer (who replaced Shore) from the game in favor of Bobby Poyner but Poyner would give up a two-run double just three pitches into his outing. Both runs would be charged to Shafer. Poyner gave up another single to give Alabama runners on the corners and no outs before Eric Hanhold relieved him.
Hanhold would relinquish one more run, cutting Florida’s lead from 6-0 to 6-3 heading into the final frame.
Turgeon would single home Jason Lombardozzi in the ninth, extending Florida’s lead back to four in the top of the ninth and Hanhold worked a perfect half inning to earn his third save of the season.
“I was proud of the way our guys competed tonight. We didn’t play our best game but we were patient at the plate and drew some walks that led to some runs,” O’Sullivan said. “I thought Casey [Turgeon] had a really good night at the plate and set the tone for us and both [Harrison] Bader and [Taylor] Gushue did their thing by driving in a couple of runs each.”
The win, coupled with a South Carolina loss, gives the Gators a four game lead in the Sec East with just eight league games left this season. Florida and Alabama will square off again on Saturday at 3 p.m.
- Taylor Gushue recorded his ninth and tenth sacrifice flies of the season, leaving him just one short of the school record held by Mike Zunino (2012).
- Freshman Logan Shore has worked at least five innings in all 11 of his starts this season.
- With the win on Friday night, Florida has won nine-consecutive SEC contests dating back to their road series against South Carolina.
- The nine-game SEC winning streak for Florida matches the third-longest in school history in league play, last done from March 23-April 13, 2001.
- The win pushed Kevin O’Sullivan’s career record in Tuscaloosa to 4-3. He is 11-4 all-time against the Crimson Tide.