By Aaron Brand, Correspondent
A night after the Gators exploded for 15 runs, their bats, like the weather at McKethan Stadium on Wednesday night, turned frigid. Florida was held without a baserunner for the first six innings, as Florida Gulf Coast jumped out to an early lead and held on to win 7-2.
Florida (10-5) came out flat — something coach Kevin O’Sullivan noticed almost immediately.
“Good or bad you’ve got to move on to the next day, and I thought we carried the last three games into today,” O’Sullivan said. “That was the message last night, not to get too far ahead of ourselves, and I could tell in the first inning (that was the issue), and I got them together (to talk about it). … We just weren’t ready to go.”
FGCU (9-4) starter Evan Lumbert (2-1) tossed seven innings, allowing two runs on three hits and one walk, all in the seventh. He struck out six.
“He’s almost like effectively wild a little bit,” O’Sullivan said of Lumbert. “He had a heavy, heavy sink to his fastball.”
The Eagles first struck in the second, when a ground-rule double by Jay Hayes scored Joe Kinker, and a sac fly by Richie Garcia brought in another run to make it 2-0.
FGCU added three more in the third to make it 5-0 after UF pulled starter David Luethje (0-1) when he walked the bases loaded. A hard-hit ball to third bounded off Cory Acton and into left field, scoring a run on the error, followed by a single and a bases-loaded walk. The Eagles added a run in the sixth and seventh to go up 7-0.
The Gators got things going in the bottom half of the seventh when Jacob Young smoked a solid single back up the middle. Then, a bunt single by Brady McConnell and a throwing error on the play at first allowed Young to score UF’s first run. Kendrick Calilao singled him home two batters later to cut the deficit to 7-2, but that’s all UF could muster, stranding runners on the corners to end the frame.
“I think he kind of left a few pitches up, which he wasn’t doing, he was locating very well before that,” said Young, who finished with two of UF’s four hits. “We got a few hits, which we kind of hoped would spark something.”
Florida will host a three-game set with Yale this weekend.