Gators fly by Owls
Published: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 9:59 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 9:59 p.m.
Florida is heading into the home stretch of the season with renewed confidence.
After a rocky weekend at No. 3 LSU, the Gators (27-23, 12-12 SEC) have started their final homestand of the season on a positive note. Behind strong pitching and a six-run fifth inning Tuesday, Florida won its second straight, beating Florida Atlantic 7-1 at McKethan Stadium.
It wasn’t quite the 22-1 outburst Florida enjoyed Monday night in its win against Florida A&M, but it kept momentum rolling after being swept in a three-game series at LSU.
“We flushed LSU and we came out here the last two games and played our game,” Florida second baseman Casey Turgeon said. “We needed these two games going into this weekend.”
Turgeon delivered the big blow against Florida Atlantic, a two-RBI double that broke a 1-1 tie. But the story of the night was UF’s pitching. Four Florida pitchers combined for a one-hitter. Lefty starter Bobby Poyner (3-2) pitched a season-high six innings to earn the win.
“I felt pretty good,” Poyner said. “I was just trying to throw the ball over the plate, let the defense play. We made really good catches in the outfield. Played really good defense in the infield. Didn’t make any errors.”
Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan didn’t hesitate turning to Poyner again after he pitched 4.1 innings Friday night against LSU.
“We’re at the point of the season where we’re going to go with some older guys who have some experience and he’s pitched in big games,” O’Sullivan said.
Danny Young, Ryan Harris and Johnny Magliozzi each pitched a scoreless inning to preserve Poyner’s win. The Gators retired the final 13 FAU (28-20) batters they faced, including one on a pretty diving catch in center field by Richie Martin.
Offensively, Florida didn’t get going until the fifth. Trailing 1-0, the Gators sent 12 batters to the plate in the inning, scoring six runs on just four hits. Shortstop Cody Dent squeezed in Florida’s first run before Turgeon’s two-run double put the Gators ahead to stay. Turgeon later scored on a balk. Florida added a pair of runs on a Zack Powers RBI single and Harrison Bader bases loaded walk.
“We started figuring out the pitcher a little bit and put some good swings together,” Turgeon said. “That’s how big innings happen.”
The Gators also took advantage of an FAU error and had three batters hit by pitches during the inning. Third baseman Josh Tobias was hit twice in the same inning, something you don’t see every day.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that,” O’Sullivan said.
Vikash Ramjit padded Florida’s lead in the seventh with his fourth home run of the season, a solo shot to left. It was Ramjit’s first home run since March 31 against Ole Miss.
Florida Atlantic scored its lone run in the third on an RBI single by leadoff batter Nathan Pittman. It wound up being FAU’s lone hit of the game. Florida will look to keep its winning streak going when it opens its final home SEC series Friday night against Auburn.
“Going into the postseason, we’re just trying to put some runs on the board and get some wins,” Turgeon said.