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.