UF baseball gets even with Duke
Published: Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:54 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:54 p.m.
Here's yet another example of just how young and unknown this Florida baseball team is in 2013:
Who: Duke (1-1) at Florida (1-1)
When: Sunday, noon
Where: McKethan Stadium
Gainesville-area radio: AM-850
The winning pitcher in Saturday's victory over Duke walked up to the media after the game and felt like he needed to introduce himself.
“Hi, I'm Parker Danciu,” the true freshman left-hander from Delray Beach said following the Gators' 4-2 victory over the Blue Devils before 3,890 at McKethan Stadium.
Danciu pitched 3.2 scoreless innings in relief to pick up a victory in his first college game.
“I'm happy and excited about it,” he said.
Danciu's performance wasn't the only one by a young player that has the Gators feeling good about their future, and about the possibilities as UF moves forward into the season.
True freshman starter Tucker Simpson made an impressive debut, pitching four innings and giving up only two hits, two runs and striking out three.
Danciu shut down the Blue Devils over the next 3.2 innings, giving up only two hits and striking out two.
True sophomore second baseman Casey Turgeon hit a three-run home run in the first inning that took away the sting of Friday's opening night loss and took the pressure off the freshman pitchers and everyone else on the field and in the UF dugout.
Sophomore Johnny Magliozzi retired all four batters he faced in his debut as the closer.
True freshman shortstop Richie Martin made a tag on a critical double play in the eighth inning that killed a potential Duke rally.
“This is still a work in progress,” UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan said of his 1-1 team. “But I do feel good about where I think we're going to end up.
“With such a young team, getting the first win is important. Everyone can kind of take a deep breath and say they got their first win out of the way.”
The two true freshman pitchers were pretty much in control during their time on the mound, combining for a strong 7.2 innings and setting up Magliozzi for the opportunity to pick up his first collegiate save.
“The pitching was really good,” O'Sullivan said. “The two freshmen out there. … I thought Tucker was good and Danciu came in and did a really nice job. Mags threw the ball really well. He threw all his pitches for strikes. I'm really pleased with the pitching.
“I'm really encouraged (by the performance of the two freshmen). At any point during the season you can throw two freshmen out there and give up only two runs through almost eight innings, you've got to feel good about it.”
What made the young pitchers (and probably everyone else) feel good was Turgeon's home run — a line drive off the right-field foul pole — that gave the Gators a 3-0 lead in the first inning.
“I think momentum is huge in college athletics, regardless of the sport,” O'Sullivan said. “Coming off last night's loss, the (early) three-run homer was huge for us to kind of relax.”
Turgeon said he went to the plate looking for a pitch to drive, and that's what he got.
“The pitcher (Drew Van Orden) was struggling and trying to throw strikes,” Turgeon said. “I went up there with one thing in mind: look for that pitch down the middle.
“He gave it to me and I put a good swing on it.”
An insurance run in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly by Cody Dent also took some the pressure off, giving the Gators a 4-2 lead.
When there was potential for the young Gators to grow tight in the eighth inning, senior first baseman Vickash Ramjit and Martin turned a crucial double play to get Danciu out of trouble.
Ramjit cleanly gloved a sharp ground ball and stepped on the base for the first out, then threw to Martin, who fielded a low throw at second base and made a nice tag for the second out.
Magliozzi took care of things from there, getting four consecutive outs to end the game.
“I got myself in a hole there,” Danciu said. “I made a good pitch, and Vickash made a big play behind me. Turning that double play was real nice.”
The Gators will try to win the series today in a noon game.
“Our pitching is intact (after using only three Saturday night),” O'Sullivan said. “Our whole bullpen is left. I feel good about what we have left on the mound.”