Publisher Profile

THE INSIDER AUTHORITY ON GATOR SPORTS

Pitcher Johnson carries big stick, too

Written by gatorcody, April 3, 2010, 0 Comments,
Print Friendly

When Brian Johnson wasn’t dominating on the mound Saturday afternoon, his bat was making noise at the plate. Thanks to his left arm and hot bat, the Florida Gators scored a series-clinching 7-3 victory over Vanderbilt at McKethan Stadium.

The 6-3, 225-pound left-hander from Cocoa Beach went 5.2 innings, allowing seven hits and one run. His location wasn’t good early in the game as he struggled to locate his curve and change-up, but Johnson improved as the game went on and he moved to 3-1 on the season and his earned-run average fell from 3.42 to 3.09.

“He was really good,” Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “I’m not saying he had his best stuff today, but he battled.”

Johnson’s performance didn’t stop on the mound though. This was the third game of the season in which he was in the lineup to swing the bat. After recording his first career hit Friday night, Johnson went 3-for-3 with a double and a walk in Saturday’s game. And none of the hits were cheap. Johnson’s singles were both line drives to right field, and the double landed on the warning track in left-center field. 

“It’ll probably be the easiest game ball we give out all year,” O’Sullivan said with a smile.

The victory, combined with losses by South Carolina and Louisiana State, left the Gators tied for the overall conference lead with both teams.

It wasn’t a change for Johnson. In fact, it felt like high school. He was a two-way star throughout his career at Cocoa Beach High School. He led the way on the mound during his senior season, going 5-1 with a 0.76 ERA while recording 102 strikeouts in 55 innings. He also was the big bat in the Cocoa Beach lineup, batting .551 with nine home runs and 21 RBI.

The hype around his performance Saturday was enough to raise the expectations even more, but he’s used to dominating both aspects of the game.

“It felt good to have the opportunity to do both,” Johnson said. “(I did it) every game, so it wasn’t something new.”

Johnson is now batting .444 (4-for-9) on the season. The coaches always planned to give him a chance to hit in college, but they wanted to let him settle in first on the mound. His future has always been understood to be on the mound, and the coaches wanted him to settle into his midweek routine in between starts before making things busier for him, allowing him to swing the bat as well.

O’Sullivan approached him at the pregame meal Saturday to ask if he would want to swing the bat during his start, and the answer was a resounding “yes.”

“I just asked him if he wanted to hit and pitch,” O’Sullivan said. “His eyes lit up. He’s a very honest kid. I asked him in the middle of the game (Friday) how he felt about (sacrifice) bunting, and he looked at me and goes, “Coach, I can’t bunt.” He’s got a really good demeanor and an innocence about him that I hope he keeps for a long, long time.”

The Florida offense got on the board in the second inning with a two-run home run from Daniel Pigott that scored Johnson. Pigott has been in the lineup only against left-handed hitters to this point, but he got a start against a right-hander after Tyler Thompson went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts Friday night. Pigott responded with his second three-RBI game in a week.

The Gators have used a platoon with Jonathan Pigott and Daniel Pigott against left-handed pitchers, and Thompson and Kamm Washington started against right-handed pitchers.

O’Sullivan said they would like to settle on two starting outfielders to earn consistent playing time, but they haven’t elevated themselves yet.

“A couple of those guys have to separate themselves in the outfield,” O’Sullivan said. “It would be nice to write in a lineup that you stay with. I’m waiting for some of those guys to separate themselves.”

Catcher Mike Zunino broke out of a 0-21 slump in SEC play with a two-run double in the sixth inning that pushed Florida to a comfortable 7-1 lead. He has made solid contact, but it’s his defensive play behind that plate that kept him in the lineup. Now his bat is starting to come along as well.

The Gators will go for the sweep on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Gators send freshman right-hander Hudson Randall (2-2, 5.00 ERA) against Commodores right-hander Jack Armstrong (3-0, 4.70 ERA).

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

Conference Overall

EASTERN DIVISION W-L Pct. W-L Pct.


South Carolina 6-2 .750 21-6 .778

Florida 6-2 .750 20-6 .769

Vanderbilt 4-4 .500 23-6 .793

Kentucky 2-6 .250 18-10 .643

Georgia 2-6 .150 10-16 .385

Tennessee 1-7 .125 14-14 .500

WESTERN DIVISION W-L Pct. W-L Pct.

Louisiana State 6-2 .750 22-4 .846

Mississippi 5-3 .625 21-7 .750

Arkansas 5-3 .625 21-6 .778

Auburn 4-4 .500 17-10 .630

Alabama 4-4 .500 19-7 .731

Mississippi State 3-5 .375 15-12.556

RESULTS

SATURDAY / April 3


Florida 7, Vanderbilt 3

Georgia 12, Louisiana State 6

Arkansas 10, Kentucky 1

Tennessee 5, Mississippi 2

Mississippi State 8, South Carolina 7

Alabama 6, Auburn 5

FRIDAY / April 2

Florida 3, Vanderbilt 2

South Carolina 10, Mississippi State 2

Mississippi 7, Tennessee 3

Louisiana State 4, Georgia 3

Alabama 10, Auburn 5

Kentucky 12, Arkansas 8

SCHEDULE

SUNDAY / April 4


Vanderbilt (So. RHP Jack Armstrong 3-0, 4.70 ERA) at Florida (Fr. RHP Hudson Randall 2-2, 5.00 ERA), 1 p.m. (SUN)

Georgia (So. RHP Michael Palazzone 3-2, 7.48 ERA) at Louisiana State (TBA), 1 p.m. (CSS)

Tennessee (So. LHP Steven Gruver 1-1, 4.76 ERA) at Mississippi (TBA), 2 p.m.

Mississippi State (TBA) at South Carolina (Sr. RHP Jay Brown 1-0, 3.38 ERA), 2 p.m. (ESPNU)

Kentucky (So. RHP Alex Meyer 4-2, 6.15 ERA) at Arkansas (Jr. RHP Brett Eibner 2-2, 2.28 ERA), 2:05 p.m.

Auburn (TBA) at Alabama (TBA), 3 p.m.

TUESDAY / April 6

Jacksonville at Florida, 6:30 p.m.

Clemson at Georgia, 6:30 p.m.

Louisville at Kentucky, 6:30 p.m.

Belmont at Vanderbilt, 7 p.m.

UAB at Alabama, 7:30 p.m.

Georgia State at Auburn, 7:30 p.m.

Alcorn State at Louisiana State, 7:30 p.m.

Jackson State at Mississippi State, 7:30 p.m.

WEDNESDAY / April 7

Georgia at Clemson, 6:30 p.m.

Alabama at Jacksonville State, 6:30 p.m.

College of Charleston at South Carolina, 7 p.m.

Western Carolina at Tennessee, 7 p.m.

Saint Louis at Arkansas, 7:30 p.m.

South Alabama at Auburn, 7:30 p.m.

Arkansas-Little Rock at Mississippi, 7:30 p.m.

Southern Mississippi vs. Louisiana State at Zephyr Field, New Orleans, 8 p.m.

FRIDAY / April 9

Alabama at Kentucky, 6:30 p.m.

Florida at Tennessee, 7 p.m.

South Carolina at Vanderbilt, 7 p.m.

Arkansas at Mississippi State, 7:30 p.m.

Louisiana State at Auburn, 7:30 p.m.

Mississippi at Georgia, 8 p.m.

SATURDAY / April 10

Arkansas at Mississippi State, 3 p.m.

Mississippi at Georgia, 3 p.m.

South Carolina at Vanderbilt, 3 p.m.

Florida at Tennessee, 4 p.m.

Louisiana State at Auburn, 4 p.m.

Alabama at Kentucky, 6:30 p.m.

SUNDAY / April 11

Florida at Tennessee, 12:30 p.m.

Alabama at Kentucky, 1 p.m.

Louisiana State at Auburn, 2 p.m.

Mississippi at Georgia, 2 p.m.

South Carolina at Vanderbilt, 2 p.m.

Arkansas at Mississippi State, 2:30 p.m.

POLLS

As of March 29


BASEBALL AMERICA

1. Virginia (20-4); 2. Arizona State (23-0); Georgia Tech (21-2); 4. Florida State (19-4); 5. Louisiana State (20-3); 6. UCLA (20-0); 7. Texas (18-6); 8. Florida (18-5); 9. Louisville (20-3); 10. Arkansas (18-5); 11. Mississippi (19-6); 12. South Carolina (19-5); 13. Texas Christian (17-5); 14. Coastal Carolina (19-5); 15. Miami, Fla. (16-7); 16. Clemson (18-6); 17. Oklahoma (20-3); 18. Western Kentucky (20-5); 19. Stanford (12-6); 20. Vanderbilt (21-4); 21. Oregon State (16-5); 22. Arizona (20-5); 23. Texas A&M (17-6); 24. UC Irvine (14-8); 25. Alabama (16-6).

COLLEGIATE BASEBALL

1. Arizona State (23-0); 2. UCLA (20-0); 3. Virginia (20-4); 4. Louisiana State (20-3); 5. Georgia Tech (21-2); 6. Florida State (19-4); 7. Texas (18-6); 8. Louisville (20-3); 9. Oklahoma (20-3); 10. Oregon State (16-5); 11. Mississippi (19-6); 12. Florida (18-5); 13. Clemson (18-6); 14. South Carolina (19-5); 15. Coastal Carolina (19-5); 16. Texas Christian (17-5); 17. Miami, Fla. (16-7); 18. Arizona (20-5); 19. Arkansas (18-5); 20. Kansas State (19-3); 21. Western Kentucky (20-5); 22. Southeast Louisiana (22-3); 23. Vanderbilt (21-4); 24. Pittsburgh (18-4); 25. The Citadel (18-6); 26. UC Irvine (14-8); 27. Texas A&M (17-6); 28. Stanford (12-6); 29. Virginia Military Institute (20-4); 30. Wichita State (14-7).

USA TODAY/ESPN COACHES

1.Arizona State (23-0); 2 Georgia Tech (21-2); 3. Virginia (20-4); 4. Louisiana State (20-3); 5. UCLA (20-0); 6. Florida State (19-4); 7. Texas (18-6); 8. Louisville (20-3); 9. Oklahoma (20-3); 10. Clemson (18-6); 11. Florida (18-5); 12. Texas Christian (17-5); 13. Arkansas (18-5); 14. Mississippi (19-6); 15. Coastal Carolina (19-5); 16. Miami, Fla. (16-7); 17. Vanderbilt (21-4); 18. Oregon State (16-5); 19. South Carolina (19-5); 20. Arizona (20-5); 21. Kansas State (19-3); 22. Texas A&M (17-6); 23. (tie) Southeast Louisiana (22-3) and Alabama (16-6); 25. Western Kentucky (20-5).

NATIONAL COLLEGE BASEBALL WRITERS ASSOCIATION

1. Arizona State (23-0); 2. Virginia (20-4); 3. Georgia Tech (21-2); 4. Louisiana State (20-3); 5. Florida State (19-4); 6. UCLA (20-0); 7. Texas (18-6); 8. Louisville (20-3); 9. Florida (18-5); 10. Arkansas (18-5); 11. Texas Christian (17-5); 12. Clemson (18-6); 13. Oklahoma (20-3); 14. Mississippi (19-6); 15. Miami, Fla. (16-7); 16. Oregon State (16-5); 17. Coastal Carolina (19-5); 18. Vanderbilt (21-4); 19. South Carolina (19-5); 20. Arizona (20-5); 21. Southeastern Louisiana (22-3); 22. North Carolina (16-9); 23. East Carolina (16-8); 24. UC Irvine (14-8); 25. Western Kentucky (20-5); 26. Stanford (12-6); 27. Texas A&M (17-6); 28. Kansas State (19-3); 29. Alabama (16-6); 30. Kentucky (16-8).

About gatorcody

gatorcody Baseball
Print Friendly

When Brian Johnson wasn’t dominating on the mound Saturday afternoon, his bat was making noise at the plate. Thanks to his left arm and hot bat, the Florida Gators scored a series-clinching 7-3 victory over Vanderbilt at McKethan Stadium.

The 6-3, 225-pound left-hander from Cocoa Beach went 5.2 innings, allowing seven hits and one run. His location wasn’t good early in the game as he struggled to locate his curve and change-up, but Johnson improved as the game went on and he moved to 3-1 on the season and his earned-run average fell from 3.42 to 3.09.

“He was really good,” Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “I’m not saying he had his best stuff today, but he battled.”

Johnson’s performance didn’t stop on the mound though. This was the third game of the season in which he was in the lineup to swing the bat. After recording his first career hit Friday night, Johnson went 3-for-3 with a double and a walk in Saturday’s game. And none of the hits were cheap. Johnson’s singles were both line drives to right field, and the double landed on the warning track in left-center field. 

“It’ll probably be the easiest game ball we give out all year,” O’Sullivan said with a smile.

The victory, combined with losses by South Carolina and Louisiana State, left the Gators tied for the overall conference lead with both teams.

It wasn’t a change for Johnson. In fact, it felt like high school. He was a two-way star throughout his career at Cocoa Beach High School. He led the way on the mound during his senior season, going 5-1 with a 0.76 ERA while recording 102 strikeouts in 55 innings. He also was the big bat in the Cocoa Beach lineup, batting .551 with nine home runs and 21 RBI.

The hype around his performance Saturday was enough to raise the expectations even more, but he’s used to dominating both aspects of the game.

“It felt good to have the opportunity to do both,” Johnson said. “(I did it) every game, so it wasn’t something new.”

Johnson is now batting .444 (4-for-9) on the season. The coaches always planned to give him a chance to hit in college, but they wanted to let him settle in first on the mound. His future has always been understood to be on the mound, and the coaches wanted him to settle into his midweek routine in between starts before making things busier for him, allowing him to swing the bat as well.

O’Sullivan approached him at the pregame meal Saturday to ask if he would want to swing the bat during his start, and the answer was a resounding “yes.”

“I just asked him if he wanted to hit and pitch,” O’Sullivan said. “His eyes lit up. He’s a very honest kid. I asked him in the middle of the game (Friday) how he felt about (sacrifice) bunting, and he looked at me and goes, “Coach, I can’t bunt.” He’s got a really good demeanor and an innocence about him that I hope he keeps for a long, long time.”

The Florida offense got on the board in the second inning with a two-run home run from Daniel Pigott that scored Johnson. Pigott has been in the lineup only against left-handed hitters to this point, but he got a start against a right-hander after Tyler Thompson went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts Friday night. Pigott responded with his second three-RBI game in a week.

The Gators have used a platoon with Jonathan Pigott and Daniel Pigott against left-handed pitchers, and Thompson and Kamm Washington started against right-handed pitchers.

O’Sullivan said they would like to settle on two starting outfielders to earn consistent playing time, but they haven’t elevated themselves yet.

“A couple of those guys have to separate themselves in the outfield,” O’Sullivan said. “It would be nice to write in a lineup that you stay with. I’m waiting for some of those guys to separate themselves.”

Catcher Mike Zunino broke out of a 0-21 slump in SEC play with a two-run double in the sixth inning that pushed Florida to a comfortable 7-1 lead. He has made solid contact, but it’s his defensive play behind that plate that kept him in the lineup. Now his bat is starting to come along as well.

The Gators will go for the sweep on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Gators send freshman right-hander Hudson Randall (2-2, 5.00 ERA) against Commodores right-hander Jack Armstrong (3-0, 4.70 ERA).

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

Conference Overall

EASTERN DIVISION W-L Pct. W-L Pct.


South Carolina 6-2 .750 21-6 .778

Florida 6-2 .750 20-6 .769

Vanderbilt 4-4 .500 23-6 .793

Kentucky 2-6 .250 18-10 .643

Georgia 2-6 .150 10-16 .385

Tennessee 1-7 .125 14-14 .500

WESTERN DIVISION W-L Pct. W-L Pct.

Louisiana State 6-2 .750 22-4 .846

Mississippi 5-3 .625 21-7 .750

Arkansas 5-3 .625 21-6 .778

Auburn 4-4 .500 17-10 .630

Alabama 4-4 .500 19-7 .731

Mississippi State 3-5 .375 15-12.556

RESULTS

SATURDAY / April 3


Florida 7, Vanderbilt 3

Georgia 12, Louisiana State 6

Arkansas 10, Kentucky 1

Tennessee 5, Mississippi 2

Mississippi State 8, South Carolina 7

Alabama 6, Auburn 5

FRIDAY / April 2

Florida 3, Vanderbilt 2

South Carolina 10, Mississippi State 2

Mississippi 7, Tennessee 3

Louisiana State 4, Georgia 3

Alabama 10, Auburn 5

Kentucky 12, Arkansas 8

SCHEDULE

SUNDAY / April 4


Vanderbilt (So. RHP Jack Armstrong 3-0, 4.70 ERA) at Florida (Fr. RHP Hudson Randall 2-2, 5.00 ERA), 1 p.m. (SUN)

Georgia (So. RHP Michael Palazzone 3-2, 7.48 ERA) at Louisiana State (TBA), 1 p.m. (CSS)

Tennessee (So. LHP Steven Gruver 1-1, 4.76 ERA) at Mississippi (TBA), 2 p.m.

Mississippi State (TBA) at South Carolina (Sr. RHP Jay Brown 1-0, 3.38 ERA), 2 p.m. (ESPNU)

Kentucky (So. RHP Alex Meyer 4-2, 6.15 ERA) at Arkansas (Jr. RHP Brett Eibner 2-2, 2.28 ERA), 2:05 p.m.

Auburn (TBA) at Alabama (TBA), 3 p.m.

TUESDAY / April 6

Jacksonville at Florida, 6:30 p.m.

Clemson at Georgia, 6:30 p.m.

Louisville at Kentucky, 6:30 p.m.

Belmont at Vanderbilt, 7 p.m.

UAB at Alabama, 7:30 p.m.

Georgia State at Auburn, 7:30 p.m.

Alcorn State at Louisiana State, 7:30 p.m.

Jackson State at Mississippi State, 7:30 p.m.

WEDNESDAY / April 7

Georgia at Clemson, 6:30 p.m.

Alabama at Jacksonville State, 6:30 p.m.

College of Charleston at South Carolina, 7 p.m.

Western Carolina at Tennessee, 7 p.m.

Saint Louis at Arkansas, 7:30 p.m.

South Alabama at Auburn, 7:30 p.m.

Arkansas-Little Rock at Mississippi, 7:30 p.m.

Southern Mississippi vs. Louisiana State at Zephyr Field, New Orleans, 8 p.m.

FRIDAY / April 9

Alabama at Kentucky, 6:30 p.m.

Florida at Tennessee, 7 p.m.

South Carolina at Vanderbilt, 7 p.m.

Arkansas at Mississippi State, 7:30 p.m.

Louisiana State at Auburn, 7:30 p.m.

Mississippi at Georgia, 8 p.m.

SATURDAY / April 10

Arkansas at Mississippi State, 3 p.m.

Mississippi at Georgia, 3 p.m.

South Carolina at Vanderbilt, 3 p.m.

Florida at Tennessee, 4 p.m.

Louisiana State at Auburn, 4 p.m.

Alabama at Kentucky, 6:30 p.m.

SUNDAY / April 11

Florida at Tennessee, 12:30 p.m.

Alabama at Kentucky, 1 p.m.

Louisiana State at Auburn, 2 p.m.

Mississippi at Georgia, 2 p.m.

South Carolina at Vanderbilt, 2 p.m.

Arkansas at Mississippi State, 2:30 p.m.

POLLS

As of March 29


BASEBALL AMERICA

1. Virginia (20-4); 2. Arizona State (23-0); Georgia Tech (21-2); 4. Florida State (19-4); 5. Louisiana State (20-3); 6. UCLA (20-0); 7. Texas (18-6); 8. Florida (18-5); 9. Louisville (20-3); 10. Arkansas (18-5); 11. Mississippi (19-6); 12. South Carolina (19-5); 13. Texas Christian (17-5); 14. Coastal Carolina (19-5); 15. Miami, Fla. (16-7); 16. Clemson (18-6); 17. Oklahoma (20-3); 18. Western Kentucky (20-5); 19. Stanford (12-6); 20. Vanderbilt (21-4); 21. Oregon State (16-5); 22. Arizona (20-5); 23. Texas A&M (17-6); 24. UC Irvine (14-8); 25. Alabama (16-6).

COLLEGIATE BASEBALL

1. Arizona State (23-0); 2. UCLA (20-0); 3. Virginia (20-4); 4. Louisiana State (20-3); 5. Georgia Tech (21-2); 6. Florida State (19-4); 7. Texas (18-6); 8. Louisville (20-3); 9. Oklahoma (20-3); 10. Oregon State (16-5); 11. Mississippi (19-6); 12. Florida (18-5); 13. Clemson (18-6); 14. South Carolina (19-5); 15. Coastal Carolina (19-5); 16. Texas Christian (17-5); 17. Miami, Fla. (16-7); 18. Arizona (20-5); 19. Arkansas (18-5); 20. Kansas State (19-3); 21. Western Kentucky (20-5); 22. Southeast Louisiana (22-3); 23. Vanderbilt (21-4); 24. Pittsburgh (18-4); 25. The Citadel (18-6); 26. UC Irvine (14-8); 27. Texas A&M (17-6); 28. Stanford (12-6); 29. Virginia Military Institute (20-4); 30. Wichita State (14-7).

USA TODAY/ESPN COACHES

1.Arizona State (23-0); 2 Georgia Tech (21-2); 3. Virginia (20-4); 4. Louisiana State (20-3); 5. UCLA (20-0); 6. Florida State (19-4); 7. Texas (18-6); 8. Louisville (20-3); 9. Oklahoma (20-3); 10. Clemson (18-6); 11. Florida (18-5); 12. Texas Christian (17-5); 13. Arkansas (18-5); 14. Mississippi (19-6); 15. Coastal Carolina (19-5); 16. Miami, Fla. (16-7); 17. Vanderbilt (21-4); 18. Oregon State (16-5); 19. South Carolina (19-5); 20. Arizona (20-5); 21. Kansas State (19-3); 22. Texas A&M (17-6); 23. (tie) Southeast Louisiana (22-3) and Alabama (16-6); 25. Western Kentucky (20-5).

NATIONAL COLLEGE BASEBALL WRITERS ASSOCIATION

1. Arizona State (23-0); 2. Virginia (20-4); 3. Georgia Tech (21-2); 4. Louisiana State (20-3); 5. Florida State (19-4); 6. UCLA (20-0); 7. Texas (18-6); 8. Louisville (20-3); 9. Florida (18-5); 10. Arkansas (18-5); 11. Texas Christian (17-5); 12. Clemson (18-6); 13. Oklahoma (20-3); 14. Mississippi (19-6); 15. Miami, Fla. (16-7); 16. Oregon State (16-5); 17. Coastal Carolina (19-5); 18. Vanderbilt (21-4); 19. South Carolina (19-5); 20. Arizona (20-5); 21. Southeastern Louisiana (22-3); 22. North Carolina (16-9); 23. East Carolina (16-8); 24. UC Irvine (14-8); 25. Western Kentucky (20-5); 26. Stanford (12-6); 27. Texas A&M (17-6); 28. Kansas State (19-3); 29. Alabama (16-6); 30. Kentucky (16-8).

Read previous post:
Brooks’ bat secures Gator sweep

Walk-off homer -- fourth roundtripper of week -- finishes 4-1, 2-1 sweep of LSU

Close