Kevin O’Sullivan’s recruiting strategy during his tenure at Florida has put a premium on pitching. The old adage in baseball is great pitching will beat great hitting. He got a great outing Sunday from sophomore Tyler Dyson but Miami starter Evan McKendry was even better.
Florida dropped the series finale in Miami, 2-0, and the sophomore right-hander from Miami was the reason for it.
“Credit McKendry. He was really good today,” O’Sullivan said. “He threw a lot of really quality off-speed pitches down and away and we quite didn’t make an adjustment. He threw the ball really well.”
McKendry carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning. He got Jonathan India to pop up in the infield to start the frame but everything went wrong for the Canes. All four infielders converged on the mound, trying to shield their eyes from the sun. The ball landed in between four infielders and India, smartly, rounded first and took second with nobody covering.
“I run out everything,” India said. “They teach us here to put your head down and run. I just ran hard, didn’t think it’d be a double.”
It only went 50 or so feet but it’ll look like a line drive in the box score.
McKendry was able to get the next three batters out, a theme for Florida as they went 0-13 with runners on base in the series finale.
Tyler Dyson, on the other side of the field, was throwing zeroes up and matching McKendry. Dyson gave up a single in the first but struck out two. He retired the side in order with two more strikeouts in the second. Dyson gave up a hit and hit a batter in the fourth but was able to work out of the jam without surrendering a run. He added two more strikeouts in the fourth inning on his way to a career-high eight-strikeout game.
The fifth is when Miami finally got to Florida’s sophomore.
Dyson induced two fly outs but gave up a two-out double to nine-hole batter Willy Escala. Redshirt senior Michael Burns followed that with a double of his own to open the scoring.
“Unfortunately (McKendry) put up one more zero than I did and that turned out to be the difference,” Dyson said after the game. “He did a great job, credit to him, he located well and made pitches. It’s just that one run in the fifth that kind of put them over the top.”
The one run would be the difference and all that Miami needed as the duo of McKendry and closer Andrew Cabezas were able to keep the Gators off the scoreboard.
The Gators would threaten in the final three frames but couldn’t manage a hit with runners on base. They stranded three (three walks) in the seventh and one runner each in the eighth and ninth.
The Gators will have Monday off before playing a home and home two-game set with UNF. The first game is Tuesday at UNF with a follow up game Wednesday at McKethan Stadium. Freshman Jordan Butler will start for Florida on Tuesday.