Gators get best of UCF


Published: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 11:59 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 11:59 p.m.

Florida pitchers Logan Shore and Danny Young combined to hold visiting UCF to just one run on four hits and the Gators broke open a 1-1 pitcher's duel with a four-run seventh inning to down the Knights, 5-1, Tuesday night before a McKethan Stadium crowd of 2,994.

The decision left both teams with 3-1 records.

Shore, a true freshman from Coon Rapids, Minn., threw 5 1/3 innings in his collegiate debut, striking out four batters and allowing no walks.

Young, a sophomore left-hander, did the rest, holding UCF scoreless over the final 3 2/23 innings on just one hit to earn the win.

“It was really, really good,” coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. “That's as impressive an outing from a freshman as you will probably see. It was important for him to go deep in the game because we had to use Justin (Shafer) and Eric (Hanhold) on Sunday, so they obviously weren't available.”

After giving up a leadoff single in the first to UCF's Dylan Moore, Shore retired the next three hitters in order capped by back-to-back strikeouts of the Knights' No. 3 and No. 4 hitters.

The Gators then took a 1-0 lead in their half of the inning on a two-out, line-drive home run off the scoreboard in right by junior Taylor Gushue on a 3-2 fastball from UCF starter Zach Rodgers.

It was Gushue's first homer of the year and the first roundtripper for the Gators this season.

“It felt really good,” said Gushue, who was down 0-2 in the count before fighting back. “I really wasn't trying to do too much, just put something in play and he left a fastball up. I got on top of it and it back-spun out, so it was nice.”

Shore would have earned the win were it not for the fact that the Knights plated an unearned run in the sixth inning with two outs to tie the game. But he was smiles afterward nonetheless.

“It was good to finally pitch in some warm weather in the spring, coming from Minnesota,” Shore said. “The adrenaline was really going a little bit in the first, but after that I settled in and felt good.”

UF threatened to retake the lead in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases with two outs, but UCF reliever Parker Thomas got Shafer to hit into an inning-ending force out at second.

The Knights' bullpen, however, cost them an inning later.

UCF reliever Joe Marotta, who took the loss, walked four of the six batters he faced, the last one Zack Powers on four pitches that forced in the go-ahead run with two outs.

Marotta was replaced by Trent Thompson, who promptly gave up a two-run single to junior transfer Braden Mattson that made it 4-1.

Left-hander Vinnie Rosace, the third UCF reliever of the inning, proceeded to walk freshman A. J. Puk and give up an RBI infield single to Shafer for UF's final run of the night before getting the final out.

Young, meanwhile, was pretty much untouchable in relief.

“Danny was outstanding as well,” O'Sullivan said. “Danny's kind of mister reliable. He throws strikes, and you know what you're going to get day-in and day-out. You can use him in a lot of roles.”

Mattson went 2 for 3 with two RBIs to lead a seven-hit UF attack, while Moore had two of UCF's four hits.

The Gators will go for their third win in a row tonight at 7 when they host UNF.

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