The No. 2 Florida Gators (2-0) had another comeback win on Saturday, but they didn’t make fans stress this one out, cruising to a 8-1 win to take the season opening series. Florida has won all 10 opening series during Kevin O’Sullivan’s tenure.
William & Mary (0-2) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning, just as they did on Friday night.
Ryder Miconi led the frame off with a single up the middle and advanced to second when Charles Ameer wore a 94 MPH Brady Singer fastball on the forearm. Brandon Raquet’s fielder’s choice gave the Tribe runners on the corners and scored one batter later.
Florida didn’t waste time getting back on top.
JJ Schwarz singled up the middle to start the bottom half of the inning. Nelson Maldonado drew a one out walk two batters later and the pair moved up 90 feet each after a wild pitch. Mark Kolozsvary struck out swinging bringing the Gators’ lone senior position player, Ryan Larson, to the plate. The senior struck out in a pinch hitting opportunity on Friday but had an opportunity for redemption. Larson ripped a fastball through the left side coring both Schwarz and Maldonado, giving the Gators the lead.
“I thought they responded very well tonight,” O’Sullivan said of his team after the game.
Singer struggled some with his command on Saturday night. The sophomore who opened up the game with a 97 MPH heater hit two batter and walked three more but struck out six while notching his first win of the season. The offense added two more insurance runs for Singer in the bottom of the third. Dalton Guthrie, Deacon Liput and Jonathan India hit back-to-back-to-back singles to open the third — Guthrie scored on India’s hit. Schwarz hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Liput and advance India to third, who scored on a Mike Rivera groundout, giving UF a 5-1 lead.
Singer made his was through five innings before giving way to Williston native Austin Langworthy who was greeted by a sizeable, and loud cheering section.
“Just a bunch of friends and family I suppose from back home,” Langworthy said with a smile. “I’m only 20 minutes down the road.”
It was Langworthy’s first appearance on the mound for the Gators and his low 80s fastball coming after Singer’s heat left the Tribe off balance. Langworthy gave up one hit in the top of the sixth but notched the first two strikeouts of his career. He then led off the bottom half of the frame with his first career hit and stole second.
“It’s everything I thought it would be,” Langworthy said of his first two games. “I grew up 20 minutes away so it was a dream to come here and I love it here. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Langworthy gave way to Frank Rubio and the Gators’ bullpen, which was O’Sullivan’s biggest question mark heading into the season, kept the Tribe off the board. In two games the pen has thrown eight innings of scoreless baseball, with nine strikeouts to just five hits and no walks.
Florida added an insurance run in the seventh inning. Freshman Keenan Bell pinch hit for Nelson Maldonado and singled home Schwarz. Jonathan India added two more runs with a home run to left field in the eighth.
Florida pounded out 13 hits on Saturday and have 21 in its first two games.
“It’s good,” O’Sullivan said of the bullpen. “Langworthy and Baker, 3 and 2/3 innings of no runs. Obviously Michael Byrne, who had limited action last year, came in last night and was dynamite last night. It’s good to see. I’m pleased with that.”
Sophomore Jackson Kowar will take the mound tomorrow against Tribe senior Daniel Powers as the Gators look for a sweep at 1 pm.