Gator Baseball Swings Back with Dominating Win Over Florida A&M
GAINESVILLE- Freshmen Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) (2-for-3) and Christian Dicks (Jacksonville, Fla.) (2-for-2, two runs) each drove in a career-high four runs, while senior Cody Dent(Boynton Beach, Fla.) and Dicks belted their first career homers as Florida (26-23) cruised to a 22-1 win over Florida A&M (7-42) on Monday night at McKethan Stadium.
Sophomore right-hander Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) (1-1) registered a career-high eight strikeouts over a career-long six innings to earn the win and the Gators established a season high with 23 hits. Freshman Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) went 3-for-5 with three RBI and three runs out of the leadoff spot, redshirt sophomore Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) was 3-for-3 with three RBI and three runs and junior Todd Haskel (Palm Harbor, Fla.) was 2-for-2 and scored twice in his collegiate debut.
“It was obviously a tough weekend for us [at LSU], but we came out tonight and played well,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “I think what stood out from tonight from the box score was that we didn’t walk anyone or make errors. We played clean. It was great to get a bunch of guys in there. Cody Dent with his first career home run was nice to see, as was Christian Dicks hitting his first home run.”
“I thought Justin Shafer did a really nice job pitching to the second half of the game and I thought Tucker Simpson threw the ball well. We played great defense. It was a feel-good night for everybody. It was probably something that we needed.”
The Gators scored twice in the first inning against FAMU sophomore John Roberts (0-2). Martin and sophomore Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) drew consecutive walks and sophomore Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) (2-for-3) singled to left field to load the bases with none out. Powers brought home Martin with his second sacrifice fly of the season into left field and sophomore Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) was hit by a pitch to re-fill the bags. Bader followed with a free pass to plate Turgeon for a 2-0 margin.
Shafer struck out the side in the second inning, matching his career-high of four K, then fanned the first two Rattlers of the third frame to give him six-straight punch-outs before a grounder completed the frame.
Florida tallied six runs on six hits in the bottom of the frame to build an 8-0 advantage. Shafer helped himself with a leadoff single into left field and Powers reached on an infield single before a wild pitch with one down gave the Gators a pair of runners in scoring position. Bader raised his hitting streak to eight games with an RBI single into right center and redshirt freshman Cory Reid (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) stroked an RBI single into left field to give the Gators a 4-0 lead and end the night for Roberts (2.1 IP, 5 H, 6 R). After a double steal, with Bader taking third base and Reid swiping second base, Dent drew a walk from sophomore Kelvin Singletary to load the bases. Martin doubled to right center to bring home Bader and Reid and Turgeon scored Dent with a grounder to second base. Gushue collected an RBI single to drive in Martin with the sixth run of the stanza.
Shafer had retired nine-straight FAMU batters before senior Aaron Smith connected on his first homer of the season into the left-field bleachers for an 8-1 count with two outs in the fourth inning. The Gators answered in the home part of the inning with an RBI grounder by Bader and a two-run homer by Dent off the scoreboard overlooking right field. The blast was the first of Dent’s career as a Gator.
“I was just trying to get a hit and keep the inning going, really,” Dent said. “It was amazing; I don’t really even remember it. When I got back to the dugout, seeing my teammates, they really made it special and were all excited for me.”
Bader picked up his fourth RBI of the contest with a two-out single into right center in the fifth for a 12-1 Gator cushion. Freshman Kevin Stypulkowski (Lake Worth, Fla.) (2-for-4, two runs) opened the inning with a base-hit into center to boost his hitting streak to three games and Powers drew a one-out walk before Bader’s second single of the game scored Stypulkowski.
The Gators put six up more runs on six hits in the sixth inning for an 18-1 lead. Dent started things off with a walk and Martin notched his third hit of the contest with a single into right center. A fly ball to right field by freshman pinch hitter Brady Roberson (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) (2-for-3) advanced the runners into scoring position and Stypulkowski stroked a single into left field to drive in Dent. Making his collegiate debut, Haskel singled through the left side of the infield to fill the bags. Powers greeted freshman reliever Cameron Sims with a two-run single up the middle and Dicks made his first career round-tripper a three-run job by clearing the right-field fence.
The final four runs for Florida came in the bottom half of the eighth inning to finalize the score at 22-1. Haskel singled again up the middle to lead things off. Sophomore Mike Fahrman (Tampa, Fla.), who replaced Powers at third in the previous half inning, then reached base after being hit by a pitch, which allowed Haskel to advance to second. Tobias singled to load the bases and Dicks delivered an RBI single to bring home Haskel. A throwing error on the play also allowed Fahrman to score. After FAMU made a pitching change and had sophomore Javon Johnakin replace junior Tony Covington (1.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R), Dent stepped up and hit a sacrifice fly into center field, scoring redshirt freshman pinch runner Aaron Rhodes (Venice, Fla.). Martin added another sac fly to score Dicks with the game’s final run.
UF totaled a season-high 23 hits, while its pitching staff limited the Rattlers to three hits and did not issue any walks. Freshman Tucker Simpson (Oxford, Ala.) hurled three scoreless innings with three strikeouts and the Gator defense was flawless in the field.
Florida hosts Florida Atlantic (28-19/13-11 Sun Belt) tomorrow at 7 p.m. The contest can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Mick Hubert. Live audio and stats will be available on GatorZone.com and fans can also follow updates of each game on @GatorZoneBB, the official Twitter account of the Gator baseball program.
· The win snapped a four-game losing streak for Florida.
· The 22 runs scored by Florida was the most in any game this season.
· It was the most runs scored by Florida in a game since plating 22 against Winthrop on March 22, 2011.
· The total of 23 hits by UF was also the most in a game since having 23 against Manhattan on June 3, 2011.
· Starting pitcher Justin Shafer set a career-high with eight strikeouts in the game after notching six-straight from the first through the third innings.
· The six-straight strikeouts by Shafer was the longest streak for any Florida pitcher this season.
· The eight strikeouts by Shafer matched the highest in any outing for a Gator pitcher this season.
· Shafer’s six innings of work was his longest outing of the year and lowest earned run total in at least a four-inning appearance.
· The 11 combined strikeouts by Shafer and Tucker Simpson matched a season-high for the team in one game. The Gators last had 11 strikeouts in a game against Jacksonville on March 6.
· Sophomore Casey Turgeon stole his seventh base of the season after swiping second in the third inning.
· Freshman Harrison Bader extended his hitting streak to eight games, tying a career-high, after an RBI single in the third inning.
· Bader stole his team-leading 11th base in the third inning Monday night, while redshirt freshman Cory Reid stole his first base on the same play as part of a double steal.
· Bader also knocked in a career-high four RBI in the game as part of a 2-for-3 performance at the plate.
· Freshman Richie Martin notched his fourth double of the season after scoring two with a knock to right-center field in the third inning.
· With its six-run third inning, it marks the sixth time this season that UF has scored five or more runs in an inning.
· Senior Cody Dent notched his first career home run in the game, a two-run shot to right field in the fourth inning. Tonight was Dent’s 175th game as a Gator.
· With a single in the fifth inning, freshman Kevin Stypulkowski extended his career-high hitting streak to three games.
· With his single in the sixth, freshman Richie Martin notched his fourth three-hit game of the year. Martin was 3-for-5 in the game.
· Junior Todd Haskel made his first collegiate appearance on Monday night and chipped in with a couple of hits.
· Freshman Christian Dicks hit his first homer of his career against Florida A&M, a three-run shot to right field. The four RBI also marks a new career-high for Dicks.
· Sophomore Connor Mitchell had his first double of the season in the sixth inning of Monday night’s game.
· The Gators had six runs in the sixth inning, which ups their season total to 53 for the sixth frame, the most in any inning this year.
· Florida batted around the lineup twice in Monday’s game.
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