Runs and hits were no problem for the Florida Gators on Friday night. The Gators clubbed in 16 runs on 17 hits, beating the visiting Winthrop Eagles 16-4. Florida’s 16 hits were a season-high with 10 different Gators collecting a hit on Friday, another season high.
The win came on the heels of a disappointing loss Wednesday night at home to UCF. The Gator sounded out 10-hits Wednesday night but weren’t able to hold on for the win.
Dyson’s night was rocky to start. The junior threw 94 pitches on the night, only 55 strikes. One third of those pitches came in a first inning where neither Dyson nor the Florida defense played particularly well.
Dyson walked three batters and a fielding error pushed a run across the board. He limited the damage but needed 30 pitches to do so.
“I can’t do that,” Dyson said. “Going into next week and SEC play I can’t have that. I gotta do a better job of limiting that in the first. I thought I did a better job in the second through fifth getting back under my pitch count and finishing that but the first inning, I can’t do that. I just can’t.”
Dyson did settle in. He needed just 64 pitches to get his last 12 outs. He gave up a home run on an elevated fastball but finished with six strikeouts and walked just one batter after the first inning.
Florida tied the game in the second inning when freshman center fielder Ju Fabian hit a solo home run to left field. The ball’s exit velocity registered at 101 mph, the hardest hit ball at McKethan stadium to that point.
“He tired to throw a fastball in,” Fabian said. I was sitting fastball all night and he kinda left it right own the middle. It was in my hot spot.”
Florida scored two more runs in the third on an Austin Langworthy double but really broke things open in the fourth inning.
The bottom of the fourth lasted 38 minutes, saw 15 batters come to the plate, nine runs scored and two Winthrop errors.
“We go with them,” Dyson said. “I’ve got all the faith in our offense. I’ve seen them hit all preseason. I’ve seen them hit off me; I’ve seen them hit off all our guys. They’re great hitters for a reason. They’re showing it now.”
After the game Kevin O’Sullivan kept the team in the dugout much longer than you would expect a manager of a team that just put up 16 runs on 17 hits.
“We have a lot to work on. In the fifth inning we had 2-3-4 coming up and didn’t do a good job,” O’Sullivan said. “We talked about at the end of the game if you wanna be a .300 hitter you can’t give bats away. There’s just some things we’ve still gotta continue to work on.”
Florida and Winthrop will meet on Saturday at 4 pm in game two of the series.