Zack Powers hits two grand slams in UF win
Published: Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 4:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 18, 2013 at 10:07 a.m.
“It’s great to actually be back and playing,” said Powers. “To have a game like this is really special.”
Powers came up three straight times with the bases loaded and delivered on each occasion.
In the sixth with one out, he launched a long sacrifice fly to the warning track in right center that advanced all three runners and knotted the score at 3-all.
Sophomore Josh Tobias followed with a two-run, two-out bloop single to left center to give the Gators their first lead of the game, and senior Cody Dent followed with an RBI single to right to cap a four-run inning that put UF up 6-3.
Powers came up in the bottom of the seventh with two outs and the bases juiced and sent a 2-2 pitch over the right field fence for his first career grand slam to make it 10-3.
After the Blue Devils plated a pair of unearned runs in the top of the eighth to make it 10-5, Powers struck again in the bottom of the inning, launching another slam over the fence in right, this one on a 3-2 pitch, and the Gators plated two more runs before the inning was over to seal the deal.
Powers is just the second UF player to hit two grand slams in a game, joining ex-Gator great Preston Tucker who did it as a freshman in 2009.
Almost lost in UF’s offensive outburst was the pitching performance of sophomore Ryan Harris (1-0), the third of six Gator hurlers on the day. He tossed 2 2/3 innings of one-hit-shutout ball — his second solid relief outing of the series – to pick up the win.
“I’m just trying to throw strikes and let our fielders do their thing,” Harris said. “It’s a big, deep breath for everybody. We’ve got a young team and we did well.”
For the weekend, Harris allowed just two hits and no runs in 4 2/3 innings of relief.
“He was really good on Friday and really good today,” O’Sullivan said. “He competed and he threw the ball with conviction.”
Reliever Michael Matuella (0-1), the second of seven Duke pitchers, took the loss.
Powers and Dent each finished 2-for-3 at the plate to lead UF and were joined in multi-hit games by freshman shortstop Richie Martin, who was 2-for-4 and made the defensive play of the day in the top of third when he caught a fly ball while running flat out with his back to the infield just inside the left field line, reaching over his head to snare the ball despite a stiff breeze and rob Duke’s Jeff Kremer of an extra-base hit.
The Gators travel to Orlando to take on UCF (2-1) for their first road test of the year Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. before returning home to take on Georgia Southern (2-1) Wednesday at 7 p.m.