Florida (23-19) plated six runs in the fifth, tacked on four runs in the sixth and added two more runs in the eighth to post a 12-1 victory over USF (26-15) that snapped the Bulls’ winning streak at 12 games on Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium. Freshman Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) (2-for-5, two runs) drove in a career-high four runs with the go-ahead RBI single in the fifth and added a three-run triple in the sixth and sophomore Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) was 2-for-3 with a two-run double.
In claiming their seventh-straight home game, the Gators have now emerged victorious in 12 of their last 15 contests. With USF ranked 25th by Collegiate Baseball, head coach Kevin O’Sullivan club picked up its SEC-leading 12th win over a ranked foe.
“I thought our pitching was really, really good tonight,” O’Sullivan said. “We played great defense: Richie [Martin] made a nice diving catch, [Harrison] Bader made a nice sliding catch to end an inning and [Casey] Turgeon made a great play to his right to start an inning. We threw strikes for the most part tonight, only walked one guy and we used six different pitchers. All in all, it was a great team effort. Eight of the nine starters got hits tonight. Richie had a big night with four RBI. We got contributions up and down the lineup; we had a lot of guys on the mound and they all did their jobs.”
USF seized a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a two-out RBI single by junior Anthony Diaz. Senior Jimmy Falla opened the frame with a base-hit into right field off of sophomore Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.) and senior Chris Norton (2-for-4) followed with a single into left field. Poyner had sophomore Austin Lueck line out to first base and freshman Levi Borders fly to right field before Diaz drove Falla in with a single into center field.
A one-out double by Norton in the fourth prompted a pitching change, as redshirt freshman Aaron Rhodes (Venice, Fla.) replaced Poyner (3.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 K). The right-hander retired all four batters he faced and matched his career best of two strikeouts before freshman Danny Young (Boca Raton, Fla.) (2-3) came in with two down and no one on in the fifth.
The Gators erupted for six runs on five hits in the fifth and sent 10 batters to the plate to take control of the contest. Sophomore Connor Mitchell (Tampa, Fla.) (1-for-2, two runs) singled to right field with one down and freshman Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) (2-for-3, three runs) executed a hit-and-run with a base-hit through the right side to move Mitchell to third. Bader was able to reach second on the ensuing relay throw. A wild pitch by sophomore starter Mike Clarkson (1-5) enabled Mitchell to come home with the tying run and the righty hit senior Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) for Gators on the corners with one down.
Junior Janick Serrallonga came out of the bullpen for Clarkson (4.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R) and yielded an RBI single up the middle to Martin that brought across Bader. A walk to sophomore Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) (1-for-4, two runs) loaded the bases and Gushue smoked a two-run double down the left-field line to give the hosts a 4-1 advantage, with Dent and Martin scoring. Sophomore Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) lofted a sacrifice fly into center field to score Turgeon and redshirt sophomore Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) raised his hitting streak to a career-high six games with an RBI single to bring home Gushue. Senior Adrian Puig took the mound for Serrallonga (0.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R) and had senior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) ground out to complete the inning.
Senior Alex Mendez opened the sixth with a double to left field and went to third on a failed pickoff attempt by Young. A walk to junior James Ramsey brought sophomore Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) into the ballgame and the righty hit Falla to fill the sacks with none out. Harris rebounded to escape the jam by striking out Norton and Lueck and having sophomore Zac Gilcrease fly out to left field to keep the score 6-1 in favor of the Gators.
UF tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the inning, highlighted by a bases-clearing triple by Martin. Mitchell had drawn a leadoff walk and moved to second on a failed pickoff attempt before Bader was hit by a pitch. Dent blooped a single into right field, bringing in redshirt freshman Joe Adel in for Puig (0.1 IP, 1 H, 3 R) with the bases full. Martin registered his first career three-bagger to balloon the margin to 9-1 and came home on a sacrifice fly into left field by Turgeon.
In the eighth, Bader started things off for the Gators with an infield single and went to second on a grounder by Martin. A two-out single into right field by Turgeon advanced Bader to third base and freshman Kevin Stypulkowski (Lake Worth, Fla.) came through with a pinch-hit single into right field to plate Bader. Rookie Christian Dicks (Jacksonville, Fla.) followed with a pinch-hit single into left field to bring home Turgeon with the game’s final run.
Harris worked 1.2 scoreless and hitless innings with three strikeouts and was followed to the mound by freshman Parker Danciu (Delray Beach, Fla.) (0.1 IP, 1 H) and freshman Eric Hanhold (Palm Harbor, Fla.) (2.0 IP, 3 K). The Gators out-hit the Bulls, 13-6.