By Aaron Brand, Correspondent
On a brisk night at McKethan Stadium, Florida warmed the dirt on the base paths Tuesday in a 15-0 rout of Florida Gulf Coast.
UF (10-4) did the majority of its damage in the fifth inning, sending 15 men to the plate in a 10-run frame to break the game open. Of the 15 who made a plate appearance, only six reached via hit, as FGCU (8-4) committed two errors and walked four in the frame.
Junior captain Nelson Maldonado capitalized on three of those miscues, lacing a double over the third-base bag to plate three.
It was Florida’s sixth five-plus-run inning in the last five games. The Gators have scored 73 runs during that stretch.
“We’re doing a good job of getting in the cages, coming out here early, doing some early work and we’re being aggressive,” Maldonado said. “We’re not taking too many pitches and we’re jumping on the fastball.”
Florida also got production from Brady McConnell, Kendrick Calilao, Jud Fabian and Cory Acton, who each joined Maldonado with two-hit efforts. McConnell, Brady Smith and Williston-native Austin Langworthy homered.
“We’ve got a long way to go, but I think the probably most important thing of the night is we played errorless ball defensively, we caught the ball and I think we only had three walks and guys threw the ball across the plate,” Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan said.
Florida pitchers limited FGCU to just four hits and three walks, striking out eight.
Junior right-hander Nick Blasucci started the game for UF against his former team, tossing two innings, allowing one hit and two walks with three Ks. When Blasucci was a freshman, he played a series with FGCU in Gainesville as a shortstop. Since then, he’s transferred to a junior college, then to UF and suffered through injuries along the way.
“It’s definitely been a long road for sure,” Blasucci said. “I had a good freshman year, I liked it (at FGCU). I just figured I’d move on and start pitching. It’s been like 18 months probably since I’ve been on the mound actually throwing in a game, so it felt good to get back out there tonight and compete.”
The Gators and Eagles play again Wednesday at 6.