Gators fall to Bulls in Tampa

Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan. [File]

Special to The Sun

TAMPA — Florida’s first road trip of the season was a rough one Tuesday, as USF beat the No. 5 Gators 6-1.

USF (3-1) took an early lead, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the first before UF starter Hunter McMullen stranded two runners to get out of the inning.

Joe Genord’s solo home run in the third inning extended the Bulls’ lead to 3-0.

“It started on the mound, we fell behind early in the first inning, gave up two runs,” UF coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “This was our first road game and obviously we didn’t handle the stage very well. With such a young team, these are the types of games and experiences that we’re going to learn from.”

Florida (3-1) turned to the bullpen early and transfer Justin Alintoff settled things down, tossing 2.2 scoreless innings to keep USF at bay.

Jud Fabian launched a solo home run to left field — the Gators’ first of the season — to end the shutout bid in the sixth inning.

USF pulled away with a three spot in the seventh for the final margin.

“We hit a couple of balls to the warning track, I think three, early in the game,” O’Sullivan said. “We kept it a two-run game and had first and third with nobody out (in the seventh inning) and had Wil (Dalton} up. That was a tough at bat for us, I think if we had been able to score a run there things could have been a little bit different. We’ve got to do a better job making adjustments. These are the type of learning experiences that we’ll learn from and get better from.”

The Gators only managed two hits, matching their season low from 2018.

Florida hosts UNF at 6 p.m. today. This weekend, the Gators will play Miami in a three-game series at McKethan Stadium. Friday and Saturday’s games will start at 6:30 p.m. The series finale Sunday begins at 1 p.m.