Coming off their first back-to-back losses of the season the Florida Gators needed a night like this. Brady Singer threw seven scoreless innings and Florida pounded out nine runs on nine hits to win the game 9-0
It all started with the junior on the mound. Singer improved to 4-0 on the season but had given up six earned runs in his last two starts. It’s not a cardinal sin but it is indicative of how good he is and would go to explain this quote from his manager.
“It’s not like I’ve got to pull him in the office and tell him he’s not pitching up to his capabilities, he knows,” O’Sullivan said. “He’s sharp. He understands where he needs to be and the expectations.”
The expectation couldn’t be higher. Most people believe he’s a serious contender to be selected by the Detroit Tigers No. 1 overall in the Draft this June.
Each time he’s toed the rubber this season it’s been in front of a gang of MLB scouts, their radar guns raising each time he starts his delivery. It’s a lot of pressure, but he gave them what they were looking for Friday night.
Singer struck out two in the first inning, two more in the second and another pair in the fifth. He finished seven innings with just two hits allowed and eight strikeouts.
“I felt like I had my better stuff,” The last three (starts) were all right but tonight I felt like I was throwing it much better.”
The Gators gave him runs early. A Wil Dalton leadoff single, wild pitch and a JJ Schwarz single gave Florida a 1-0 lead. Schwarz went from first to third on a Jonathan India single and scored on a fielder’s choice. The two run advantage was more than enough for Singer, who used the cushion to work on things he thought he hadn’t done well his last two starts.
“Just commanding the fastball low,” he said. “That’s been (something) I’ve been working on all week. I felt like the changeup was really good tonight. I threw it a lot more than I had all year tonight. That was a really good thing to see.”
The Gators used home runs to extend the lead. Nick Horvath hit a solo home run, his second of the season, in the second inning and Nelson Maldonado hit a grand slam in the fourth inning. Maldonado had missed a home run in the first inning by a few feet, so rounding the bases after a grand slam felt even better.
“It felt great off the bat. I thought I hit the first one out, but I didn’t get enough barrel on it” he said. “That (second) one sure felt good.”
Singer, meanwhile, retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced before giving way to the duo of Nick Long and Connor Churchill, who closed the game out.
Due to weather the Rams and Gators will finish their three-game series tomorrow in a double header that starts at 1 p.m. The second game will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first.