The No. 2 Florida Gators (8-1) did just enough to come away with a win over Stony Brook (2-5) on Friday night for a 1-0 win in the series opener at McKethan Stadium. The win marked Kevin O’Sullivan’s 300th win, the fastest coach to win 300 games in school history.
Sophomore Logan Shore drew the start a week after leaving the opening game against Miami with a hip injury after just nine pitches.
“It was just a hip flexor thing,” said Shore. “I think a couple weeks it’s just been tight. Last week was a little cold, so that definitely didn’t help. It just tightened up. I did my rehab over the week, threw a bullpen on Wednesday and felt good.”
The Gators and Seawolves were gridlocked through five innings with the teams only combining for four hits through the first five innings. On another cold night in Gainesville, that quick turnaround helped keep Shore loose and warm on the bench between innings.
“That’s huge, especially on chillier nights, like tonight. When we’re going back and forth and I’m out there right away and back in and back out there,” Shore said. “Obviously it would be nice to have more of a run cushion but that will come during the season. I have full faith in our hitters.”
Florida would give Shore some support in he sixth inning. Harrison Bader — who had three of Florida’s six hits on the night — singled to start the inning and brought up freshman designated hitter, JJ Schwarz.
Schwarz quickly fell behind in the count 0-2. Schwarz waited back on the 0-2 offering and smoked a ball down the left field line, Bader took off and scored all the way from first base to break the stalemate as Schwarz glided into second. The double was Schwarz’s third of the season as well as his 13th RBI.
“It was a 0-2 curveball and I hadn’t really seen a curveball from him the entire game,” said Schwarz. “But, I just stayed back a little bit longer than I usually do and I got lucky as it went right down the line.”
Six of Schwarz’s ten hits on the season have gone for extra bases.
Shore returned to the mound in the top of the seventh. He got a ground out before walking his third batter — tied for a career high (Shore walked three against Kentucky last season also). Freshman catcher Mike Rivera walked slowly out to the mound before home play umpire Rob Healey broke up the meeting. However, that wasn’t the only meeting Shore would have as Kevin O’Sullivan motioned to the bullpen to bring in Bobby Poyner.
Poyner retired the next two batters, stranding the runner that Shore left on base and keeping Shore’s ERA at a perfect 0.00 through 11.1 innings this season.
“I thought Bobby [Poyner] came in and did a heck of job,” O’Sullivan said. “Obviously offensively tonight, we didn’t swing the bats particularly well in offensive counts. But, credit Stony Brook as they played well.”
The Gators held off Stony Brook and ended the game with a 6-4-3 double play to secure the one-run victory and O’Sullivan’s milestone.
The Gators and Seawolves will reconvene at McKethan Stadium at 4 p.m. on Saturday for game two of the series.