It took over three hours for the first run to be scored on Friday night at McKethan Stadium but it was well worth the wait for Kevin O’Sullivan and the Gators.Casey Turgeon connected on a 2-0 fastball, lacing the offering into right field, plating Josh Tobias from second base and walking the Gators off with a series-opening win over the visiting Huskies.
Tobias (3-4 on the night) led things off by roping a ball back up the middle for a leadoff single. Buddy Reed laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Tobias into scoring position. After Richie Martin smoked a ball right at Vinny Siena for the second out, Turgeon stepped up to the plate. Turgeon watched the first two pitches before lining a ball into shallow right field. Huskie right fielder Jon Testani was caught in-between making a dive for the ball or staying back and getting a running start into the throw. He fielded the ball on a short hop and wasn’t able to make a throw to home in time to get the speedy Tobias racing around third.
Florida had plenty of chances to end the game in regulation but, much like the season has gone in the first month, weren’t able to execute in some key situations.
“It’s kind of one of those games where you kind of sense that, you know, hate to say it but here we go again,” O’sullivan said after the game. “We had opportunities with runners at third with less than two outs, we didn’t execute. We missed two sac [bunts], which can’t happen.”
The only thing colder than the Gators’ bats was the temperature, which hovered in the 40’s all night, but that didn’t bother Coon Rapids, Minnesota native and starting freshman pitcher Logan Shore.
Shore started the game and threw a career high — and team season high for a starting pitcher — seven innings. Shore was in cruise control for most of the night and at one point sat down 14-of-15 straight Huskie batters. When his night was done he hurled seven scoreless, giving up just two hits, striking out four and walking a lone batter. Shore has allowed just one earned run through his first 20 innings and boasts an unbelievable 0.45 ERA to start his career.
“We’ll build off this win. Logan Shore came out tonight and threw the ball unbelievable again,” Turgeon said. “I give all the credit to pitching tonight. The pitchers did a really good job.”
After Shore’s night was done the Gator bullpen stepped up and answered the call. Bobby Poyner, Ryan Harris, Kirby Snead and Eric Hanhold combined to throw four shutout innings, giving up four hits with Hanhold earning the win to improve his record to 2-1 on the season.
It was a total team win for the Gators but one that was fueled by pitching and defense. Tobias made two sensational diving plays at the hot corner and the rest of the Gators’ defense played the part of a brick wall behind the pitchers, bailing out the bats.
“We didn’t make an errors, crucial errors, I guess,” Shore said. “Tobias made a great play at third, that’s a huge play to come up with a diving play like that. You gotta love that as a pitcher.”
- Freshman Pete Alonso went 1-4 on the night but that one hit extended his hitting streak to seven games. Alonso is hitting .318 on the season and should become a fixture in the middle of the lineup.
- Richie Martin went 0-6 on the night, dropping his batting average to .317 on the season. The 0-fer ended a 17-game hitting streak that Martin had put together as well as a streak of reaching base in 32-consecutive games dating back to last season.
The Gators and Huskies will move on to game two tomorrow at 3 p.m. The Florida basketball team will host Kentucky and hold senior day festivities at noon and fans who have a ticket to the basketball game will be granted free admission to the baseball game.
Freshman left-hander A.J. Puk will take the mound for the Gators tomorrow in his second start of the season.