Pogue helps Gators get back at Bulls, 7-3

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Florida pitcher Nick Pogue exceeded expectations in his first start of the season Tuesday, tossing five shutout innings with just two hits allowed to earn his first win. [Lauren Bacho/Gainesville Sun/File]

By JM Soracchi, Correspondent

It had been nearly five weeks since the last time a Florida starting pitcher gave up no runs during his outing.

A freshman halted that streak Tuesday night.

Nick Pogue (1-0) went five innings, giving up two hits and no runs to earn the victory during the Gators’ 7-3 win over the University of South Florida at McKethan Stadium.

Another freshman – Nolan Crisp – gave up no runs over three innings in the Gators’ 12-1 victory against Florida A&M on April 2.

Pogue, a freshman right-hander making his first career start after getting the nod just a couple of hours before the game, struck out four and walked one while facing 19 total batters.

“I was very happy with how I pitched tonight,” Pogue said. “I couldn’t have written it any better.”

Gators coach Kevin O’Sullivan lauded his starter’s performance.

“He’s been slowly getting better and better, and he pitched really well tonight,” O’Sullivan said. “I’m really pleased and happy for him.”

Cory Acton, Will Dalton and Jud Fabian all homered for the Gators, who jumped out to a 5-0 lead after five innings off Bulls starter Noah Yager (2-2).

Florida sophomore shortstop Brady McConnell went 3 for 5 and his RBI double in the third inning to plate Jacob Young opened the scoring for the Gators (29-21).

Dalton, a junior right fielder also collected two hits and his seventh inning solo homer pushed Florida’s lead back out to four runs after the Bulls (23-24) had drawn back within three runs at 5-2.

The Gators avenged a 6-1 loss on Feb. 19 to USF in Tampa. After being swept by No. 8 Georgia over the weekend, Florida is treating every game as if it could be its last.

“Right now, every win matters,” Dalton said. “Every win always matters but in our case, we want to make it to regionals… losses at this point are very detrimental.”

Ben Specht came on for the final 3.2 innings to earn a long save, his first one of the season.

The Gators turn next to a crucial SEC home series with Tennessee beginning Friday.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I think this team has about 8 guys who could potentially put a quality start up on any given night. The problem is that all 8 of them, other than maybe Mace, could also have a mediocre to bad start on any given night too. Sully needs to find those 3-4 guys in the offseason who are gonna put up quality starts 75% of the time and get a more stable rotation. The hitting isn’t going away, since most of it is done by young guys anyway, but we need more starts like this, both midweek and especially weekend, to be successful.