Florida baseball powers past FAMU
Published: Monday, May 6, 2013 at 8:32 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, May 6, 2013 at 8:32 p.m.
After their recent struggles in Baton Rouge, La., a home engagement with a seven-win Florida A&M team was a welcomed sight for the Gators.
Florida, which has played the most difficult schedule in the nation this season, made the most of its opportunity, bouncing back with a night of big numbers.
Senior Cody Dent’s first career home run highlighted the offensive onslaught as the Gators bounced back from a three-game sweep at No. 3 LSU with a dominant 22-1 win over Florida A&M (7-42) on Monday night.
Harrison Bader and Christian Dicks each drove in four runs, and Dent, Richie Martin and Zack Powers had three RBIs apiece as Florida’s bats produced season-high marks of 23 hits and 22 runs.
Three of Dicks’ RBIs came on his first career home run in the sixth inning.
Justin Shafer struck out a career-high eight batters in his fourth start of the year as the UF sophomore lasted six innings, giving up only two hits and one run on Aaron Smith’s solo shot to left in the fourth inning.
A sizeable early lead allowed for some new faces to get in on the action.
“It was great,” Dent said. “Everybody’s happy for all the other guys getting their first doubles, first home runs, first hits.
“It’s really important because really anything can happen. You never know who’s going to end up playing if an injury happens. So just to get them experience and playing time is big.”
Florida’s Todd Haskel hit a single in his first collegiate at-bat, finished 2-for-2 on the night and wound up getting smothered by shaving cream by teammates during post-game interviews.
“Everything was coming together today,” Haskel said. “It just seemed like nothing could go wrong.”
Dent connected on a two-run shot in the fourth that gave the Gators an 11-1 lead. His first career blast came in his 175th game at Florida and almost hit his own face on the videoboard in right field.
“He got all of that ball,” Shafer said. “That ball was crushed.”
Florida (26-23) will finish its non-conference schedule today when the Gators play host to Florida Atlantic University at 7 p.m.
Bobby Poyner is expected to get the start for Florida.
O’Sullivan is expecting a tough matchup as both the Gators and Owls are competing for spots in NCAA regional play. The Florida coach thinks his team’s schedule has been a positive.
“It’s been a tough road, but I think it’s kind of toughened up our team a little bit,” O’Sullivan said.