The No. 12 Florida Gators beat Vanderbilt in spectacular fashion on Thursday night but ran into a buzz saw on Friday. For the second year in a row Vanderbilt junior Kyle Wright threw a complete game, three hit shutout, leading Vanderbilt to a 2-0 win, evening the series.
“I think that was the best pitched game, by both sides, I think I’ve seen in 10 years,” Kevin O’Sullivan said after the game. “The way both guys, I don’t want to overstate this, but the way both guys threw they probably could have pitched in the big leagues if they could have handled that type of an atmosphere. It was incredible.”
Wright, a projected top-10 pick in this year’s MLB Draft, came into the game with just a 1-4 record and had already been moved from Friday nights to Saturday after early struggles. There was no struggling on Friday night. Wright commanded all of his pitches, keeping the Gator off balance all night.
His counterpart, Brady Singer, was equally impressive. The sophomore worked around a leadoff single in the first, retiring the next three. He retired the side in order in the second and pitched around a leadoff single in the third inning as well. Singer and Wright matched zeros through four innings.
The Dore’s struck first in the fifth. Jason Delay doubled to start the frame. Ethan Paul singled to center and tried to advance to second when Austin Langworthy’s throw home sailed over the cutoff man but Mark Kolozsvary gunned Paul out at second. With a 1-2 count Vandy manager Tim Corbin dialed up a squeeze. The Dores scored via a safety squeeze on Thursday, they struck gold again Friday. Shortstop Connor Kaiser dropped a perfect bunt in front of home plate, enough to get Kolozsvary away out of position and allow Kaiser to score. Singer got the next two batters but that lone run would be all Wright needed.
Wright retired 12 batters in a row after Nelson Maldonado singled to start the fifth. Florida went down in order, including five strikeouts, until Kolozsvary singled to start the ninth. Singer took the loss but threw a great game lasting eight innings, with eight strikeouts, 11 hits and one walk.
Wright has baffled the Gators the past two seasons. He’s thrown 18 innings, surrendered just six hits to 23 strikeouts.
“I did not want our guys to hang our heads. We’ve been playing good. We won Tuesday night at Florida State, won last night with five runs in the ninth. We just ran across a really good pitcher,” said O’Sullivan. “I’m really, really proud of the way Brady matched Kyle Wright pitch for pitch. You know what, we can come back tomorrow and win the series.”