The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles brought in an 8-3 record and their pitching staff was holding opposing batters to a paltry .155 batting average. Apparently the Florida Gators didn’t read the same scouting report. Florida poured on 15 runs on 14 hits to beat the Eagles 15-0 on Tuesday night.
The Gators continued their torrid pace from last week. In the last five games Florida has scored 73 runs.
The offense is nice but it wasn’t the real story Tuesday night. The real story was Nick Blasucci getting his first start for the Gators. It was also the first time Blasucci took the mound, any mound, in 730 days. Blasucci had surgery on his elbow twice during the last 18 months and had been working to get back to a place where he could physically play baseball again.
The last time Blasucci was in-between the lines at McKethan stadium for a game he was playing for Florida Gulf Coast. A freshman at the time Blasucci was paying shortstop and went 1-6 with a double and a RBI for the Eagles against the Gators. He left FGCU after that season, going to TCC to continue his transformation from infielder to catcher and then transferred to UF but missed the 2018 season after surgery.
“It’s been a long road, for sure,” Blasucci said. “It was hard. My sophomore year at TCC (Tallahassee Community College) I was injured as well. I only threw 15 innings and I shut down. It’s been like 18 months since I’ve been on the mound throwing in a game. It felt good to be back out there tonight and competing.”
Blasucci worked two scoreless innings, striking out three in the process.
“He was excited,” Kevin O’Sullivan said. “The dugout was excited. The guys were excited to see him get back out there because of all the hard work he’s put in.”
Brady McConnell wasted little time getting Florida on the board. The sophomore took the first pitch he saw out to right field just over Brian Ellis’ outstretched glove for a solo home run.
Florida added a run in the third inning when Brady Smith launched his first home run of the season over the wall in left center field but the firework show really started in the fifth inning.
Florida sent 15 batters to the plate, scored 10 runs on six hits and were aided by two Eagle errors, busting the game wide open. As a team the Gators are hitting .344 over the last five games.
“Hitting is contagious,” Nelson Maldonado said. “Once you see a couple of your players stroking some balls you’re going to want to start doing the same thing.”
This game wasn’t all offense for the Gators. The Eagles had scored 110 runs in their first 11 games — 10 runs a game — and were hitting .344 as a team. The Gators pitching staff, that included Justin Alintoff, Christian Scott and Kirby McMullen held the Eagles to just 4-of-29 hitting on Tuesday night.
Florida will be back on the field Wednesday night against FGCU at 6 pm.