Gators sweep season series with Knights
Published: Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 9:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 9:53 p.m.
Florida scored a pair of unearned runs with two outs in the seventh inning to erase a 3-2 UCF lead and added an insurance score in the eighth to defeat the Knights 5-3 Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium.
Who: Florida at Mississippi St.
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Starkville, Miss.
The win was the third in a row for the rejuvenated Gators (14-16, 4-5 SEC) and gave them a sweep of the season series with UCF (18-12, 4-2 C-USA) with UF having won the first matchup in Orlando in February by the same score.
“This was a big win for us,” head coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. “We needed to continue to build on the momentum from this weekend and keep it going.”
The Knights jumped out to a 2-0 lead, scoring a pair of runs in the top of the second on three hits and chasing UF freshman starter Tucker Simpson in the process.
The lead held up until the sixth inning when the Gators finally got to UCF starter Eric Skoglund, a sophomore left-hander who allowed no runs and just three hits through the first five innings.
Casey Turgeon led off with a single, took second on Harrison Bader's fielder's choice and scored on Taylor Gushue's RBI single, ending the night for Skoglund.
Reliever Zac Favre was able to strike out clean-up batter Justin Shafer, but following a stolen base by Gushue, senior Vickash Ramjit lined a 1-2 pitch for a clutch RBI double off the left field fence to score Gushue and tie things at 2-all.
Sophomore Ryan Harris took over for Gibson, who held the Knights scoreless over a career-high 4 1/3 innings of work, in the seventh. He sandwiched a pair of strikeouts around a double by Williams before Woods hit a sharp grounder back through the box.
Shortstop Cody Dent made a nice diving stop behind second, but his throw to first was late and bounced away from Ramjit, with Williams racing home with the go-ahead run.
Harris rebounded to fan Vasquez to end the inning.
It was the Gators' turn to bounce back in the bottom of the frame.
Freshman right fielder Corey Reid led off with a bunt hit and was sacrificed to second by Dent. UCF reliever Chris Matulis then hit Turgeon, and both runners moved up on Bader's fielder's choice.
That brought Gushue, UF's catcher, to the plate, and his sharp grounder was booted by third baseman Chris Taladay, allowing Reid to score and tie things at 3-all.
UCF went to another reliever, Spencer Davis, and he bounced his second pitch to the backstop, with Turgeon easily scoring to give UF its first lead of the game at 4-3.
The Gators added a single run in the eighth on Bader's RBI fielder's choice to close out the scoring.
Gibson tossed a career-high 4 1/3 innings of three-hit, shutout relief, with Harris (4-2) picking up the win and closer Johnny Magliozzi earning his sixth save with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Matulis (3-1), the third of six UCF pitchers, took the loss.
“I feel like they're more confident,” Gushue said of UF's relievers. “When they get aggressive, we get better – bottom line. They were pounding the zone.”
The Gators return to SEC action this weekend with a three-game road series at Mississippi State.