Wednesday started like any other day for freshman Tyler Nesbitt. It’s spring break, so there were no classes to rush off to, which was nice considering the team bus didn’t get back to Gainesville until nearly four in the morning after a 7-3 win over FAU on Tuesday night.
It wasn’t until Nesbitt was dressed and getting ready to start stretching that volunteer assistant Lars Davis walked over and told him he’d be starting Wednesday night.
“I was a little nervous at first,” Nesbitt said. “This has always been a dream to start here at McKethan Stadium. It was surreal.
The decision to wait to tell Nesbitt was likely by design so the freshman wouldn’t sit around all day nervous about his first start. If he was nervous he didn’t let it show. Nesbitt struck out five of the first nine batters he faced and eight over four innings of work. For his efforts, he earned the first win of his career as the Gators combined to strike out 15 in a 5-0 win.
“It was kind of like you’re on top of the world,” Nesbitt said. “I’ve been a Gator fan since day one, ever since I was four years old I’ve been a die-hard Gator fan.”
The Gators were quick to support Nesbitt with offense. Jacob Young doubled — extending his hitting streak to 14 games — and Josh Rivera drove him in with a single to left field for a 1-0 lead. In the third inning, Jud Fabian singled and scored on a Jordan Butler double down the first baseline.
Florida really got it going in the fifth inning. Nathan Hickey, getting the start at catcher in place of Cal Greenfield, sent a moon shot over the scoreboard in right field for his first career home run. Jordan Butler launched his first home run.
“Jordan’s been swinging the bat really well for us,” Kevin O’Sullivan said. “It looks like he’ll probably get the chance to be in the lineup a little more. Nathan has always been able to hit, I think he’s just starting to see the ball a little better and get more comfortable.”
Florida’s bullpen continued to be outstanding. The bullpen hasn’t allowed a run in the last 21.2 innings. Tonight the trio of Justin Alintoff, Brandon Sproat and Ryan Cabarcas combined to throw five scoreless innings with seven strikeouts. The Gators’ 15 strikeouts are the most they have had since striking out 15 Texas batters in the 2018 College World Series.
Florida will take its 13-0 record and No. 1 ranking into the weekend as they host the USF Bulls at McKethan stadium for a three-game set.