The Florida Gators swept the William & Mary Tribe to get 2017 started off with a bang. Kevin O’Sullivan’s squad got off to a slow start on Friday night but earned a comeback win before flexing their muscle on a rebuilt ballclub.
Player of the Weekend: Austin Langworthy
The Gators had strong crowds at McKethan Stadium all weekend long but nobody had a cheering section like Williston native Austin Langworthy. The freshman made his first start on Friday but really shined over the rest of the weekend.
Langworthy, a two-way player, got on the mound Saturday for the first time in his career. Coming out of the bullpen he threw 2.2 shutout innings of relief work, striking out two while surrendering three hits. Langworthy also collected his first hit (1-2 on Saturday) and his first stolen base.
Sunday was the perfect ending to a dream weekend for the lifelong Gator fan. Langworthy went 3-4 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBI. His eight total bases led all batters this weekend.
Pitcher(s) of the weekend: Michael Byrne & Jackson Kowar
The sophomore from Orlando threw just 16 innings in 2016. Byrne entered the game on Friday with the Gators trailing 4-3 in the seventh inning. He threw three innings surrendering just one hit. Byrne struck out four batters on his way to earning his first career win. He was the steady presence the Gators needed on the mound Friday after Alex Faedo left in the fifth inning. Byrne will earn his first career start this Tuesday.
Kowar made six starts last season but this would be his first game transitioning to the weekend rotation and he had to wait until Sunday to get a start. The wait didn’t bother him at all. Kowar struck out the side in the first inning on just 13 pitches and struck out 10 batters throughout the afternoon. Kowar spent the offseason working on a slider and added that to a fastball that sat between 93-95, touching 97 twice, and a filthy changeup to keep the Tribe off balance.
Hitter of the weekend: JJ Schwarz
Schwarz took college baseball by storm in 2015 as a freshman. His second season was strong, but failed to reach the high bar that he set during that first year. Schwarz got his junior, and likely final, season in Gainesville off with a bang.
Schwarz had three RBI on Friday. He followed that up with a 3-3 day including two runs scored and another RBI on Saturday. On the weekend Schwarz was 4-10 (.400) with two runs scored and 4 RBIs.