With Logan Shore looking sharp on the mound the No. 3 Florida Gators (24-6, 6-3 SEC) easily dispatched of the Missouri Tigers (20-11, 6-4 SEC) by a score of 5-1 on Friday night.
Shore had taken two losses in a row before getting back on the winning trail last week against Alabama, however, for a second in the first inning it appeared that Shore had regressed backwards.
Shore gave a leadoff single and then a double before hitting Trey Harris to load the bases with no outs. Kevin O’Sullivan didn’t make a trip to the mound, rather, he let Shore bear down and try to work himself through the mess. Shore got Josh Lester to foul out before inducing a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play.
Shore struck out Zach Lavy to start the second but lost his control, walking Brett Bond and Alex Del Rio. A strikeout gave the pitcher his second out of the inning but Missouri scored the first run of the game just two pitches later on a single.
Shore need 42 pitches to make it through the first two innings and it looked like Florida wouldn’t be getting the kind of outing they needed from Shore on Friday night.
“It was a tough night to pitch and the winds when the game started were over 20 miles per hour and a little chilly. But, I’ll tell you what, for him to get out of the first inning with the bases loaded and nobody out, give up one in the second and he still wasn’t sharp, to go eight full (innings) and save our pen and do what he did, that’s one of the best performances I can remember as far as starting with adversity and being able to battle through it.”
The Gator bats slept through the first three innings before waking up on a chilly night in Columbia.
Sophomore Pete Alonso — who played in his first game on Friday after suffering a broken foot the week before the season began — got his first hit of the year, a single up the middle. Buddy Reed singled to give the Gators two runners on base and the red hot Josh Tobias — who leads the Gators in batting — brought both runners home with a bases clearing triple. Tobias crossed the plate when JJ Schwarz grounded out to second and the Gators had reclaimed the lead at 3-1.
Shore didn’t need three runs, the sophomore settled in on the mound and threw blanks at the Tigers for the remainder of his outing. Shore retired 14 batters in a row at one point of the game including 1-2-3 innings in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
Florida continued to give their ace insurance runs. In the fifth inning Alonso crushed a two-RBI double into right-center to give the Gators a 5-1 advantage.
Senior left-hander Bobby Poyner came on to relieve Shore in the eight innings after the sophomore had thrown 111 pitches. Poyner struck out the first batter he faced before giving up a double. The next two Tiger batters flied out harmlessly as the Gators took the first game of the series.
“Overall, I think this was the best game we have played all year and I am really pleased with our effort during the game,” O’Sullivan said. “Loved to see Pete (Alonso) back in the lineup, he got a couple of big hits, good to get Bobby Poyner back out there in the ninth. So, overall it was a really good game and a really good Friday night win for our guys.”