A week ago Kevin O’Sullivan issued a challenge to his weekend starters. Jackson Kowar gave up three runs in the first inning and five earned runs in a start that lasted just 4 1/3 innings. The loss to Auburn last Friday wasn’t of much concern to O’Sullivan, but the inconsistency from his weekend staff was.
“It was disappointing, to be honest with you,” O’Sullivan said after an 11-5 loss to Auburn. “I’d have to go look at it, but it’s been a while since all three starters have been real sharp on the same weekend. You know, we’re going to have to figure that out because obviously in a regional setting you need to have three quality starts to move on to the supers.”
Jackson Kowar received the message loud and clear, earning his eighth win as the Gators downed the Aggies 6-1 to take the series. The junior carried a perfect game into the fifth inning before a walk and an infield spoiled it but Kowar was sharp and his changeup was devastating to Aggie batters.
— Nick de la Torre (@NickdelaTorreGC) May 5, 2018
Both teams went three up and three down in the first inning before Florida would squander a leadoff single by Wil Dalton in the second, stranding him on second base. Florida got on the board in the third with a pair of walks a sacrifice bunt and a fielder’s choice.
The Gators are tied for second in the SEC with 68 home runs (trailing only Arkansas) and have more than 170 extra base hits this season but used a small ball approach on Saturday.
In the sixth Jonathan India walked to kick things off and Dalton reached on a fielder’s choice, fielding error. JJ Schwarz continued a torrid weekend with a single that plated India and Austin Langworthy brought Dalton home with a single of his own, all before the Aggies could record an out in the inning. Freshman Brady Smith singled to load the bases and Blake Reese’s sacrifice fly scored Schwarz. In total the Gators scored three runs on three hits.
Florida would score twice more with a small ball approach that hasn’t been typical of the club through 48 games. Deacon Liput led the seventh off with a double and stole third. He scored on Nelson Maldonado’s sacrifice fly. In the eighth Florida pushed a run across the plate without recording a hit. Schwarz reached base and advanced to second on a throwing error. Austin Langworthy bunted Schwarz over to third and Smith lofted a deep fly ball to right field to extend the lead to 6-1.
Michael Byrne finished the game out for the Gators, who clinched the series with a game ending 6-4-3 double play. The series win was the 18th consecutive weekend series win for the Gators
The Gators will look for its fifth weekend sweep on Sunday at 1:02 ET.