By Aaron Brand, Correspondent
UNF scored in each of the first three innings to pull ahead of Florida, which managed just one hit through the first four frames, and the Ospreys topped the Gators 7-1 at McKethan Stadium Wednesday.
Tanner May and Tanner Murphy homered in the second and third after Jay Prather’s RBI single in the first to push the Ospreys (3-1) in front, before UF (3-2) pitchers settled down, retiring 19 of 21 batters from the third inning into the ninth. Freshman right hander David Luethje, making his first ever appearance, led the charge after entering in the fifth and tossing three perfect innings.
“I’ve been waiting my whole life for this moment,” Luethje said. “The adrenaline was flowing, but I was anticipating it. I had a little anxiety, but once you get out there you just trust what you’ve got and go to work.”
Florida’s bats were mostly silent through the first few frames, with an infield single by Brady McConnell in the first the only tally through four. But UF’s bats got going in the middle innings.
In the fifth, freshman Santino Miozzi squared up a single to left and Williston product Austin Langworthy ripped his first hit of the season into right field. But McConnell flew out to the warning track in center to end the two-out threat.
In the sixth, UF captain Nelson Maldonado scorched a single to third, where Chris Berry’s throw to first sailed to move him into scoring position. A single by Wil Dalton and a sac fly by Cory Acton gave UF its first run, but after a pinch-hit single by Kendrick Calilao put runners on the corners again, pinch hitter Brady Smith struck out.
“We struggled moving runners over today, but the (positive) from this game is that we got some hits on the board and maybe we can transfer that over to the weekend series,” Maldonado said.
UNF added four insurance runs in the ninth, including a three-run shot off the scoreboard by Chris Berry.
“The second part of the game we had some better at bats,” Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “You can’t really control the hit part of (at bats) but the mental aspect and the quality of at bats is really more important than the outcome is.”