Saturday, February 27, 2016

UF Baseball: #1 Florida Blanks #6 Miami in Series Opener

The #1 Florida Gators improved to 6-0 on the season and have now won their last three games against the Miami Hurricanes with a 5-0 win at Alex Rodriguez Park tonight.

Gator ace Logan Shore (2-0) threw perhaps one of the most dominating games of his collegiate career in his first-ever start against the #6 Miami Hurricanes in Coral Gables. Notching the second win of his junior season, Shore threw the first ever complete game shutout of his career. Hurricane hitters could not figure him out as he struck out eight, allowed four hits, and hit one batter. He threw 95 total pitches and faced 28 batters, just one over the minimum!

Shore's only burdensome inning came in the fourth when the first two Miami batters reached base and a fearsome hitter in Zack Collins was up to bat. After falling behind Collins 2-0, Shore battled back and induced a shallow fly out. With Jacob Heyward (the younger brother of major leaguer Jason Heyward) up to bat, Shore again made things easier for himself as he picked off Christopher Barr from first base for the second out of the inning.

For a grand finale, Heyward cranked a pitch to deep right field for what looked like a two-run home run. Yet somehow, Jeremy Vasquez was able to track the ball down and catch it right at the wall for the final out of the inning. Somehow Shore and the #1 ranked Gators had averted disaster, and this would prove to be a pivotal missed opportunity that the Hurricanes would not be able to overcome.

Logan Shore is greeted with a high five after putting up another scoreless inning of work.

Offensively, Florida's lineup gave Shore all the run support he needed in the first inning. With two outs and the count 2-2, first baseman Peter Alonso crushed a ball off the left field scoreboard for a two-run home run. He would be the only Gator with multiple hits as he finished the night 2-3 with two RBI's, two runs scored, and a walk.

Joining the home run club again was JJ Schwarz. Going 1-2 on the night, the sophomore's only hit of the game was a memorable one that came in the sixth inning. With no outs and the count 2-1, JJ smoked a pitch that also caromed off the left field scoreboard to extend the Gator lead to 5-0. Like Alonso, Schwarz scored twice and also drew two walks in the game.

The final big offensive contributor for the Gators tonight was freshman Deacon Liput. With two outs in the fourth inning and Gators on second and third, Liput hit a soft single to score both runners and push the lead to 4-0.

Deacon Liput locked in and focused at the plate.

This was a huge AB for the freshman considering that this was his first true road game and the count was 2-2. I was beyond ecstatic to see him come through in such a big moment. The single would be his lone hit of the night as he went 1-3 with the two RBI's and a walk.

Final Takeaway:
Logan Shore was amazing, but I will tip my hat to one Hurricane player. Carl Chester, the sophomore centerfielder out of Lake Brantley, somehow cracked the Logan Shore enigma as he was responsible for three of Miami's four hits. Had Chester's mojo rubbed off on his teammates, I would probably be writing about a totally different game right now.

Some other tidbits worth mentioning:
  • JJ Schwarz's bomb was his second of the year.
  • Freshman Danny Reyes came in to pinch hit and almost notched his first collegiate home run when he smoked a ball all the way to the warning track.
  • The umpires tonight were terrible as they missed a few safe/out calls and the ump behind home plate had a very inconsistent strike zone.
  • Devin Meyer, who I actually played against and got a hit off of in high school, made his Miami debut today. He did well as he retired all three Gators that he faced. 
  • I was blessed to be able to attend tonight's game and see all this unfold in person with my father, my brother, and one of his best friends.

Briefly previewing Game 2 tomorrow, the #1 Gators (6-0) will throw junior lefty A.J. Puk (0-0) as they look to win the series. The #6 'Canes (4-1) will counter with a lefty as well as they will throw sophomore Michael Mediavilla (1-0). Game time is at 7 p.m. and it can be seen on ESPN3.

*All stats accredited to

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