For just the third time in program history, and the first time under Kevin O’Sullivan, the Florida Gators have started a season 11-0.
Florida finished off a weekend sweep of the visiting Troy Trojans with a 7-1 win on Sunday afternoon.
Making the third start of his career, Hunter Barco continued to show why most publications project him to be one of the first players picked in the 2022 MLB Draft. A week after earning a win at Miami the freshman took the hill on Sunday with a chance to move the Gators to 11-0 and he didn’t disappoint. Barco allowed one hit but struck out the side.
Florida was quick to give the lefty run support. Kirby McMullen worked a one-out walk and Jordan Butler, starting at designated hitter, doubled to the wall in left-center field to open up a 1-0 lead. Barco worked a clean second inning with another strikeout and struck out two more in a scoreless third frame. Florida extended its lead to 2-0 when Kendrick Calilao was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
“Hunter pitched well today,” Kevin O’Sullivan said. “Obviously he’s going to have to get better once we start conference play, but I thought their hitters did a really good job fouling some pitches off, especially with two strikes, and got his pitch count up.”
Florida tacked on two runs in the fifth inning. Austin Langworthy picked up his second hit of the afternoon to lead things off and Jordan Butler moved him to third with a single through the right side. Langworthy scored on a balk, and Butler advanced to third on a perfectly placed bunt by Jacob Young. The bunt extended Young’s hitting streak to 12 games, dating back to the Lubbock Regional in 2019. The sophomore also has six-consecutive multi-hit games. Butler was driven in by a Kendrick Calilao sacrifice fly to give the Gators a 4-1 advantage.
Barco was lifted after the 94 pitches and five innings in favor of Christian Scott. Scott hadn’t pitched since leaving his last appearance against Miami with an injury but showed no signs of anything lingering. Scott threw three scoreless innings, struck out two.
“He’s versatile. We can use him like Ben (Specht) and Nick Pogue. I think they’re all basically the same. We can bring him in in the middle of a game like we did today. We can bring him in in the last three innings in a tight game or they can close out a game. Ben’s put himself in position where we trust him at the end, but certainly, I think all three of those guys are versatile and we can use them in a lot of different roles.”
Jud Fabian’s torrid start to the season continued with a massive home run — with a 101 MPH exit velocity — in the eighth inning.
The Gators will be on the road Tuesday to take on FAU with a chance to set a new record for the best start in program history.