Error-prone Gators fall to FGCU
Published: Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 10:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 28, 2014 at 12:25 a.m.
Florida committed a season-high four errors, two of which led directly to both Florida Gulf Coast runs, and UF batters went a combined 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position as the visiting Eagles defeated the Gators, 2-1, at a chilly McKethan Stadium on Thursday night.
Who: Illinois at Florida
When: 7 p.m.
“You've got to keep the ball in front of you,” coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. “We had too many errors where the ball went underneath the glove. It's as simple as that.”
While O'Sullivan was understandably upset with his defense, he was equally disappointed in the lack of production from the more experienced hitters for Florida (5-4), which lost for the third time in the last four games.
“We had three opportunities with a runner at third and less than two outs with older guys at the plate,” he said. “When you have the opportunity to drive in runs without getting hits, you take those three times and we win the game 4-2. We have to have more competitive at-bats.”
Despite another impressive start from freshman right-hander Logan Shore (0-1), who went six innings and struck out seven hitters – both season-high marks for a UF pitcher – he was tagged with the loss, while FGCU starter Michael Murray (2-0), who scattered seven hits and allowed one run over 7 1/3 innings, picked up the win.
“He threw great,” O'Sullivan said of Shore's effort. “He threw good enough to win. I'm really proud of the way he threw the ball.”
FGCU (6-3) broke on top in the top of the third. No. 9 hitter Alex Diaz reached base on an error and Jake Noll, who drove in both FGCU runs, followed with a ringing double down the left field line to score Diaz.
The Eagles made it 2-0 in the fifth when Gage Morey led off with a single to center and took second on another UF error. He was then sacrificed to third by Diaz and scored on Noll's RBI single.
Florida's only run came in the bottom of the eighth on junior Braden Mattson's two-out, RBI infield single.
Sophomore shortstop Richie Martin and junior second baseman Casey Turgeon each had two hits as the Gators outhit the Eagles, 9-7.
UF loaded the bases with one out in the home half of the first inning off Murray, but came up empty and paid the price as the Eagles' starter retired 11 of the next 13 batters he faced en route to picking up the win.
Brady Anderson pitched the final 1 2/3 innings to earn the save for the Eagles.
Action continues with a pair of games Friday. Illinois (2-4) will face FGCU at 1 p.m., and the Gators and Illini will square off at 7 p.m.