The first eleven pitches thrown by each starter were all that one needed to assess the outcome of the Gators 15-1 dismantling of Florida A&M. Florida starter Kevin Chapman sent the Rattlers down in order, while the Gators nearly hit for the cycle against A&M starter Chad Smith.
In the bottom of the first, Florida leadoff man Jon Townsend smoked a double down the left field line. He was followed by freshman Matt den Dekker, who powered the ball over the right field fence. Five pitches later, first baseman Matt LaPorta singled up the middle off Smith. Florida failed to move Florida’s Home Run King around, but those two runs would have been enough to secure the victory.
Chapman (1-0), a true freshman from Westminster Academy was outstanding in his first ever outing in the Orange and Blue. The southpaw gave up only one hit in five innings. He walked one and fanned four Rattlers before giving way to fellow true freshman Kyle Mullaney in relief.
Mullaney pitched two terrific innings, striking out a pair of Rattlers, while allowing none to reach base. It was the first action for the right hander from Jacksonville Bishop Kenny
Meanwhile, the Gators (2-2) humiliated their visitors from Tallahassee pounding out 19 hits, eight of which went for extra bases. Florida was led by several players offensively. Center fielder Matt de Dekker was two for three with three RBI’s and a pair of walks. He hit his first ever home run for the Gators and doubled in the contest. Den Dekker scored three of the Gators runs hitting in the two hole. Third baseman Clayton Pisani hit three of four, including a hoe run. Pisani collected a pair of RBI’s.
First baseman Matt LaPorta was three for five with an RBI and stolen base. Shortstop Jon Townsend hit three of six with a double and two singles. Catcher Cody Neer also broke loose with a two for four performance and three RBI’s. Neer belted a home run and single.
Smith (0-3) picked up the loss for Florida A&M. He allowed seven hits and three earned runs on 61 pitches. The only inning the Gators failed to score was in the second.
Florida hosts fifth ranked Miami (3-2) this weekend at McKethan Stadium. The first game is scheduled for Friday night at 6:30pm.