Florida baseball ends USF's hot streak
Published: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 9:49 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 9:49 p.m.
Florida exploded for six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, highlighted by Taylor Gushue's bases-loaded double to erase a 1-0 USF lead, and went on to post a 12-1 win Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium.
Who: Tennessee at Florida
Where: McKethan Stadium
Gainesville-area radio: 103.7 FM
Schedule: Friday at 7 p.m.; Saturday: 7 p.m.; Sunday at 1 p.m.
“We were a little bit dead the first half of the game,” Gushue said. “That big inning really put us over the hump.
“We just wanted to come out and play our game, and it worked out for us tonight.”
The Gators (23-19, 10-8 Southeastern Conference), who saw their season-high, eight-game winning streak end Sunday at Missouri, combined five hits with a wild pitch and a hit batter in the fifth, chasing USF starter Mike Clarkson as well as reliever Janick Serrallonga.
It looked like the Bulls would answer in their next at-bat, as USF loaded the bases in the top of the sixth with nobody out. But sophomore right-hander Ryan Harris came on and got back-to-back strikeouts of Chris Norton and Austin Lueck, then got pinch-hitter Zac Gilcrease to fly out to left field to end the threat.
The fired-up Gators, who have won 12 of their last 15 games and seven in a row at home, added four more runs in the bottom of the inning, three of them on freshman Richie Martin's bases-loaded triple, to extend the lead to 10-1.
UF added two more runs in the eighth to win going away.
“Pitching was solid; we walked one guy, and we made some great plays defensively,” Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. “We put together two solid innings offensively.
“I feel like we're getting the most out of our players. They've persevered through some tough times.”
The Bulls (26-14, 10-2 Big East), whose 12-game winning streak ended with the loss, broke on top in the second inning on a two-out, RBI single by Anthony Diaz off UF starter Bobby Poyner, who was on a pitch count and was pulled after allowing one run on four hits in 3 1/3 innings.
The Gator bullpen did the rest, holding the Bulls scoreless over the final seven innings.
“Poyner was good, and then each guy after that came in and did a really nice job,” O'Sullivan said.
Each team used six pitchers on the night.
Clarkson (1-5), who shut out the Gators on two hits through the first four innings before running into trouble in the fifth, was tagged with the loss, while freshman Danny Young (2-3), UF's third hurler, picked up the win.
Martin, Gushue and freshman Harrison Bader each had two hits for the Gators.
The Gators, who have won their last two SEC series, return to league action this weekend when they host Tennessee for a three-game series starting Friday at 7 p.m.
“These next 14 games are extremely important for us,” O'Sullivan said. “We're fully aware of what we need to do record-wise to get into the postseason.
“We're a long way from being over, but we are playing better.”