Florida takes season series from Jacksonville

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Florida shortstop Brady McConnell. [Lauren Bacho/Gainesville Sun]

Florida scored five first-frame runs and held off a late-inning Jacksonville rally to beat the Dolphins 8-4 at McKethan Stadium.

JU (21-16) forced UF freshman Nolan Crisp to throw 28 first-inning pitches Tuesday. He threw 18 before recording his first out, which also brought home the Dolphins’ first run on a sacrifice fly by Angel Camacho.

It didn’t take the Gators long to answer.

In UF’s first at bat in the bottom half of the first, Brady McConnell smacked a 2-2 pitch into the left-field bleachers, his team-leading eighth home run, to tie the game at 1-1. Five batters later, Florida (25-14) had a 4-1 lead and JU had yet to get an out.

UF was led by Jacob Young, who went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, Cory Acton, who drove in two, and Jud Fabian and Wil Dalton, who each plated a run.

“I (just have) the same approach as I always do,” Acton said of batting with runners in scoring position. “It’s trying to barrel up a ball and hope that it’s hit hard in the gap somewhere.”

After the first, Florida pitching settled down for the next six innings. Junior Justin Alintoff tossed 2 2/3 scoreless, freshman Ben Specht threw 1 1/3 scoreless to follow Crisp, who earned his second win after giving up the one run on four hits with two Ks in three innings.

“They’re all talented, it’s just (a matter of) slowing the game down,” Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan said of his pitching staff. “They’re starting to figure it out, now we’ve got to be able to take the next step and be able to do it on the road.”

Camacho launched UF reliever Kris Armstrong’s second pitch of the eighth into the bleachers and four batters later, Cory Garrastazu hit a moonshot into the palm trees beyond the right-field wall as JU (21-16) chipped into UF’s lead and make it a 6-4 game.

But Florida added two insurance runs in the bottom of the inning and Nick Pogue earned a four-out save, his first of the year, to close the door.

“You always want to make it to where the tying run’s not at the plate with a runner on so we wanted to get one or two to get a little more space and put a little less pressure on our pitchers,” Young said.

UF swept the season series from Jacksonville (5-4 win in Jacksonville and 13-8 in Gainesville). The Gators will begin a three-game set with LSU in Baton Rouge on Thursday night.


Up next

Who: Florida vs. No. 14 LSU

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: Alex Box Stadium, Baton Rouge, La.

TV: SEC Network

Radio: AM-850, 98.1-FM

3 COMMENTS

  1. At this point in the season you have to wonder if coach is being honest with himself about his staff when he says
    “they all have talent” …
    maybe … but when you have the last place staff, statistically, in the entire SEC, and are 5th in the SEC east, it seems obvious that it is likely he had a bad year recruiting pitching. I hope I am wrong..long term.. because this crop of freshman hitters are, in my view, one of the best he has ever brought in. With upperclassmen just starting to contribute …..and the Hudson-like disappearance of Dalton… the 5th place in the SEC hitting stats is remarkable.
    CKO is still the best recruiter and developer of pitching talent in the SEC…and maybe the country but this year has to be looked at as a rebuilding year for the staff. Lets hope this “talent” gets it together sooner than later.

  2. There’s so much to pitching than just throwing the ball and it is the most taxing position you can play in the sport. Sully will develop these guys hopefully in time for the post season and make a run toward Omaha, but next year might be the next championship team.