Wednesday, March 30, 2016

2016 Gator Baseball: March Recap

The No. 2 Florida Gators (24-3, 4-2 in SEC play) had a spectacular March as they racked up 16 straight wins and finished the month 17-2. Both of those losses came in back-to-back games against the Kentucky Wildcats (17-7, 4-2 in SEC play) this past weekend and ended what had been a 17-game winning streak for the Gators.

Florida swept three series during the month (Dartmouth, Harvard, and Missouri) and lost its first series of the season to Kentucky in Lexington. Against in-state competition (UCF, UNF, FSU, and FAU), the Gators went a perfect 7-0. The most memorable of these victories came over Florida State (18-6, 6-1 in ACC play) by scores of 6-0 in Gainesville on March 15th and 3-2 in Jacksonville on March 29th. With the victory against the Seminoles yesterday, Florida has clinched the season series over their rival!

Without hesitation I would have to say that the home shutout victory over No. 11 FSU is my game of the month, but let's relive some other notable Gator baseball games from March:

  • 3/4 vs Dartmouth - Fresh off a shutout of the No. 6 Miami Hurricanes (20-4, 7-2 in ACC play), Gator ace Logan Shore was once again brilliant as he tossed seven shutout innings of one hit baseball. No. 1 Florida won handedly 7-0.
  • 3/5 vs Dartmouth - In a twelve-inning affair, Buddy Reed hit a walk-off home run to right field to give the No. 1 Gators a thrilling 4-3 victory.
  • 3/11 vs Harvard - True freshman Deacon Liput notched a career-high four hits as the No. 1 Gators shelled the Crimson 16-5.
  • 3/12 vs Harvard - Alex Faedo threw a gem as he struck out a career-high 13 batters and allowed just two hits in 8.1 innings of one-run ball. No. 1 Florida would win the contest 3-1.
  • 3/18 vs No. 23 FAU - Nelson Maldonado's unofficial two-run inside-the-park home run (it was a triple with a throwing error) proved to be all of No.1 Florida's offense as the Gators defeated the Owls 2-1 on a cool Tuesday evening in Gainesville.
  • 3/22 vs Missouri - In the bottom of the tenth inning, Peter Alonso played the role of hero and singled with the bases loaded to give the No. 1 Gators another 4-3 walk off victory along with their first SEC win of the season.
  • 3/27 @ Kentucky - In the most puzzling of endings you will ever see, the Kentucky Wildcats stunned the No. 1 team in the country and walked off in the bottom of the tenth via a wild pitch to win the game (and the series) 5-4.
  • 3/29 vs No. 9 FSU - In their second meeting of the season, No. 2 Florida prevailed yet again over No. 9 FSU behind a two-run home run from Mike Rivera and a solid outing from freshman starter Jackson Kowar.

With the big games recapped, let's look at the Gators' stat leaders through the first two months of the season:


Hits: Dalton Guthrie (39) (Sophomore)

RBI's: Peter Alonso/Mike Rivera (28) (Junior/Sophomore)

Doubles: Peter Alonso (9)

Triples: Buddy Reed/Deacon Liput (3) (Junior/Freshman)

Home Runs: Mike Rivera (6)

Batting Average: Dalton Guthrie (.358)

Slugging Percentage: Mike Rivera (.575)

On Base Percentage: JJ Schwarz (.442) (Sophomore)

Stolen Bases: Buddy Reed (12)

Runs Scored: JJ Schwarz (24)

Total Bases: Peter Alonso (52)

Strikeouts: Buddy Reed (24)

Walks:  JJ Schwarz (23)

Hit By Pitch: Peter Alonso (5)


Assists: Dalton Guthrie (70)

Putouts: Peter Alonso (213)

ErrorsJonathan India (5) (Freshman)

Fielding Percentage: Buddy Reed/JJ Schwarz/Jeremy Vasquez/Nelson Maldonado (.1000) (Sophomore/Freshman)


Wins: Logan Shore/Alex Faedo (5) (Junior/Sophomore)

LossesA.J. Puk (2) (Junior)

Strikeouts: Alex Faedo (53)

Walks: A.J. Puk (12)

Starting Pitcher ERA: Alex Faedo (2.70)

Relieving Pitcher ERAKirby Snead (0.56) (Junior)

Shutouts: Logan Shore (1)

Saves: Shaun Anderson (4) (Junior)

Appearances: Kirby Snead (15)

Innings Pitched: Logan Shore (37.1)

Final Takeaway:
The series loss to Kentucky dropped the Gators just one spot in the polls to No. 2. Fittingly enough, they have a chance to take the top spot back as the No. 1 Texas A&M Aggies (22-3, 4-2 in SEC play) come to the Mac for a weekend series. This is going to probably be the best series of the year from the perspective of an SEC college baseball fan. It could also be seen as a realistic preview of the SEC Championship in May.

Regardless of what happens vs TAMU at home this weekend, No. 2 Florida has a bunch on its plate in April. Here's what the schedule looks like:

1st: No. 1 Texas A&M*
2nd: No. 1 Texas A&M*
3rd: No. 1 Texas A&M*
5th: Jacksonville
8th: No. 11 Mississippi State*
9th: No. 11 Mississippi State*
10th: No. 11 Mississippi State*
12th: @ No. 9 FSU
14th: @ No. 18 Arkansas*
15th: @ No. 18 Arkansas*
16th: @ No. 18 Arkansas*
19th: Jacksonville
22nd: Georgia*
23rd: Georgia*
24th: Georgia*
29th: @ No. 5 South Carolina*

As the schedule indicates, this is the start of the gauntlet for Florida as SEC play gets rolling. Four series (two home and two away) with some in-state opponents sprinkled in the mix makes for a very entertaining month of April.

Per usual, I will try to be at every home game and give my thoughts on how the Gators played as they keep pushing towards a return trip to Omaha. It's been a great start so far, let's keep it rolling boys!

*All stats accredited to

Sunday, March 27, 2016

UF Baseball: #1 Florida Drops Series to Kentucky

The No. 1 Florida Gators (23-3, 4-2 in SEC play) dropped their first series of the year as the Kentucky Wildcats (17-6, 4-2 in SEC play) defeated them 5-4 in the rubber match. This loss stings as the Gators were leading 4-3 in the bottom of the tenth inning with one out before Dane Dunning allowed a game-tying home run to Kentucky's Riley Mahan.

After a hitting a batter and issuing a walk, Dunning was pulled in favor of Brady Singer. The freshman allowed a single (which might have ended the game had it not deflected off of Singer) and then, with the bases now loaded, threw a wild pitch that Kentucky's Tyler Marshall easily scored on to end the game. Dane Dunning would get the loss as he was responsible for the runner on third.

Let's backtrack now and look at how this game reached its exhilarating conclusion. Alex Faedo (5-0) was the Gator starter and was masterful through five innings as he allowed no runs. Like last week, however, Faedo ran into trouble in the sixth inning as Kentucky tagged him for two runs and knocked him out of the game.

Faedo would finish with a stat line of 96 pitches thrown in 5.2 innings, two earned runs allowed on five hits, eight strikeouts, one walk, and two hitter batters. He would receive his first no decision of the year.

After Faedo's departure, Shaun Anderson came in and had a tough outing as the Wildcats notched three hits against him and tied the game at three a piece in the bottom of the seventh. Anderson would be relieved in the seventh and finished with one strikeout in 0.2 innings of work.

After Anderson left, Dane Dunning came in and did a great job in relief until the tenth inning. In addition to suffering his first loss of the season, Dunning finished the game with two earned runs allowed on two hits, a strikeout, a walk, and two hit batsmen.

Offensively, the Gator lineup was shutdown after putting up three runs in the second inning. The bats would reawaken in the top of the tenth inning, when JJ Schwarz singled home Buddy Reed from second base to give the Gators a short-lived 4-3 lead.

Besides Schwarz's clutch hit, Florida could not figure out Kentucky's pitching once starter Kyle Cody left the game. Reliever Zach Strecker delivered a remarkable three innings of no-hit relief before Sean Hjelle came in and briefly gave up the lead in the tenth.

Three Gators notched multiple hits today. Dalton Guthrie went 2-5 with an RBI out of the leadoff spot. JJ Schwarz went 2-5 as well from the three-hole with what could have been the game-winning RBI in the tenth inning.

Finally, Nelson Maldonado delivered a 2-4 performance out of the seven spot as he doubled twice, drove in one, and scored once. He would be the only Gator with an extra base hit in the game.

Final Takeaway:
This is a tough loss for the No. 1 Florida Gators to swallow with a rematch against the No. 11 Florida State Seminoles (18-5) looming on Tuesday. Before I preview this game, let me give my final tidbits from this heartbreaking loss to Kentucky:

  • Kentucky has now won the last four series against Florida.
  • The Gator pitching staff had three wild pitches today. Alex Faedo, Shaun Anderson, and Brady Singer were the perpetrators.
  • Buddy Reed drew a team-high two walks today but did not record a hit. He also stole his 11th base of the season today.
  • Sean Hjelle, who it appeared had cost Kentucky the game, would earn his third win of the season after the Wildcats walked it off in the bottom of the tenth.
  • Kentucky had two players with three hits in today's game. Left fielder Zach Reks went 3-4 with a double and a run scored, while shortstop Riley Mahan went 3-4 with a double, two RBI's, and a run scored.
  • Florida's pitching staff struck out 11 Wildcats today, compared to just four strikeouts on the Kentucky side all coming from starter Kyle Cody. 
  • Kentucky out-hit Florida 12-7 and both sides played sloppy defense as Florida committed two errors and Kentucky had three.
  • The Gators had plenty of opportunities to put this game away. They left nine runners on base. Kentucky left 12 on base.
  • Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan was ejected in the top of the third inning after arguing balls and strikes. This would ultimately come back to haunt the Gators in regards to pitching personnel decisions later in the game.
  • Now on a two-game losing streak, Florida will most likely be unseated as the No. 1 college baseball team in the land. However, I will be shocked if they drop out of the Top 5.
After losing their first series of the year, which of course comes against an SEC opponent, Florida now turns their attention to round two with their hated rival Florida State. Sully might go with Jackson Kowar for the start as Dane Dunning threw 52 pitches in relief today. Another potential starter could be the 6'7 freshman lefty Hunter Bowling. Whoever Sully picks, I'm sure that guy will answer the bell and throw a gem.

The second meeting of these in-state rivals will commence at 6 p.m. this Tuesday (March 29th) in Jacksonville. This will be the final game of a very successful month for Florida, and it can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network. Unfortunately (and for some unknown reason) the game will not be televised.

After the Florida State game, the Gators return to McKethan Stadium for a three-game series with the No. 2 Texas A&M Aggies (21-3, 4-2). This will be an incredible series and may be a preview of the SEC Championship in May!

As for Kentucky, they are obviously pretty pumped after taking a home series from the No. 1 team in the country. I give them credit, they fought hard all weekend and scratched out a well-deserved series win. Next up or the Wildcats is two more games at home against the Northern Kentucky Norse (7-16) and the Xavier Musketeers (8-15). 

After the mid-week action, the Wildcats will head to Knoxville for the weekend as they take on the Tennessee Volunteers (14-9, 2-4 in SEC play) for three games. The first game between these SEC East rivals is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

*All stats accredited to

Thursday, March 24, 2016

2015-16 Gator Basketball: A Year In Review

In the first-year of the Mike White era, the Florida Gator men's basketball team finished 21-15 overall and 9-9 in SEC play.

The Gators played a competitive non-conference schedule, facing high-caliber teams like Michigan State, Purdue, West Virginia, Miami, and Saint Joseph's among others. All five of these teams would make the NCAA Tournament. Against non-conference opponents as a whole, Florida went 9-4. The only non-conference opponent who beat the Gators at home was Florida State.

The marquee win of the season actually came in non-conference play when Florida squared off against the #9 West Virginia Mountaineers on January 30th. It was an incredible game that saw the Gators upset the Mountaineers 88-71 behind an inspired 60% shooting performance from beyond the arc. This would be Florida's best game from three-point land all season.

In SEC play, Florida was very inconsistent. Their first conference road game against Tennessee may have been the worst game of the year as the Vols wiped the floor with the Gators by a score of 83-69. At one point, the Gators dropped four-straight SEC contests before defeating Missouri in the regular season finale.

As much as the Gators struggled against conference opponents, there were some bright spots. For instance, Florida:

  • Defeated LSU and potential #1 draft pick Ben Simmons at home by a score of 68-62.
  • Thrashed Auburn at home by a score of 95-63. This would be the third highest point total for Florida all season.
  • Lost by just nine points to Kentucky at home on Senior Day.
  • Nearly upset both Texas A&M and Vanderbilt on the road.
  • Lost just three conference games at home (Alabama, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky)

After grinding out the SEC regular season, the Gators entered the SEC Tournament as a #8 seed taking on the #9 seeded Arkansas Razorbacks. The Gators would win their first round game 68-61 before taking on the top-seeded Texas A&M Aggies in the quarterfinals. The Aggies would bounce the Gators from the tournament with a 72-66 victory.

Just missing out on the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year, the Gators received an invitation to the NIT and received a #4 seed. In the first round, Florida defeated the #7 UNF Ospreys 97-68 and advanced to play #3 Ohio State in a rematch of the 2007 National Championship. 

With the stakes much lower, the Gators defeated the Buckeyes 74-66 to set up a quarterfinal bout with the #4 George Washington Colonials. Against GWU, Florida met its end as they lost 82-77. The season was over and Year One of the Mike White regime was in the books.

With the schedule recapped, let's take one final look at the players who led the Gators throughout the course of the season.


PointsDorian Finney-Smith (530) (Redshirt Senior)

AssistsChris Chiozza (156) (Sophomore)

Shooting % (100 attempts min.)John Egbugnu (.591) (Redshirt Sophomore)

Three-Pointers (100 attempts min.): Dorian Finney-Smith (71)

Three-Point % (100 attempts min.): Dorian Finney-Smith (.368)

Free Throws
: Dorian Finney-Smith (121)

Free Throw % (10 attempts min.)KeVaughn Allen (.846) (Freshman)

ReboundsJohn Egbugnu (92) (Redshirt Sophomore)


Rebounds: Dorian Finney-Smith (211)

Blocks: John Egbugnu (48)

StealsKasey Hill (53) (Junior)


Personal Fouls: John Egbugnu (110)

Minutes: Dorian Finney-Smith (1,143)

Turnovers: Kasey Hill (72)

Final Takeaway:
Adjusting to a new coach is always difficult, but Florida did a fantastic job finishing the year above .500. Fun fact, the Gators actually fared better in Mike White's first year than Billy Donovan's as the Orange and Blue went 13-17 in Year One of the Donovan regime in 1996.

Florida sends off three seniors in Dorian Finney-Smith, Alex Murphy, and Lexx Edwards. Of these three, I would give Finney-Smith the best shot of making an NBA roster. Keep in mind that I say that very tentatively.

There is a good chance that Finney-Smith probably will not get drafted and would have to get picked up off the free agency market. Worst case, he goes and plays overseas like Gator legends Patric Young and Scottie Wilbekin have done in years past.

Looking back at his three-year career after transferring from Virginia Tech his freshman season, Dorian Finney-Smith finishes his Florida career with:

  • 101 games and 2,880 minutes played
  • A career average of 12.1 points (.428 shooting percentage)
  • 159 three-pointers made (.361 shooting percentage)
  • 239 free throws made (.673 shooting percentage)
  • 721 rebounds (256 offensive and 465 defensive)
  • 195 assists
  • 81 steals
  • 69 blocks
  • 232 personal fouls
  • Eight foulouts
  • 183 turnovers
  • 1,220 points

Alex Murphy, who transferred in from Duke his junior year, concludes his two-year Gator career with:

  • 26 games and 350 minutes played
  • A career average of 4.9 points (.451 shooting percentage)
  • Seven three-pointers made (.189 shooting percentage)
  • 28 free throws made (.583 shooting percentage)
  • 50 rebounds (13 offensive and 37 defensive)
  • Six assists
  • Nine steals
  • Seven blocks
  • 39 personal fouls
  • One foulout
  • 22 turnovers
  • 127 career points

Finally there is Lexx Edwards, who walked on to the team in 2013. I've actually played intramural football games against this guy, so that alone should sum up how much playing time he got on the court. Edwards finishes his three-year walk-on career with:

  • 31 games and 54 minutes played
  • A career average of 0.1 points (.143 shooting percentage)
  • One three-pointer made (.200 shooting percentage)
  • One free throw made (.500 shooting percentage)
  • 15 rebounds (1 offensive and 14 defensive)
  • Two assists
  • Zero steals
  • Zero blocks
  • 11 personal fouls
  • Zero foulouts
  • One turnover
  • Four career points

Now that the proper sendoff of the seniors has been done, I'll briefly look ahead to the 2016 squad. The Gators will boast three seniors, four juniors, four sophomores, and probably three or four freshman next year. Guys like Devon Robinson, Chris Chiozza, Kasey Hill, and Justin Leon (to name a few) will be called upon to step up and lead this team back to its glory days.

Whether they answer the call or not remains to be seen. Regardless, I would count Mike White's first year at UF as a successful one and I cannot wait to see where he takes the basketball program from here. Great season boys! Go Gators!

*All stats accredited to &

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

UF Baseball: #1 Florida Edges Past #24 FAU

The #1 Florida Gators (22-1) have now won 16 games in a row after a slim 2-1 victory over the #24 FAU Owls (15-4).

Jackson Kowar got the start and allowed the only run of the game when FAU second baseman Stephen Kerr crushed the second pitch of the game over the left field wall for a lead off home run. After the homer, Kowar settled down and tossed 4.1 innings in which he scattered three total hits, struck out six, walked two, and hit a batter.

Stephen Kerr trotting around the bases after giving FAU an early 1-0 lead to start the game.

After Kowar's departure in the fifth, Florida would use five different relievers to grind out the win. The first Gator arm out of the bullpen was Frank Rubio. In his 1.1 innings of work, Rubio allowed one hit and one walk. He would actually receive his first collegiate win since Kowar did not throw the five innings needed to qualify for the victory stat.

After Rubio's departure, Scott Moss came on to pitch. The 6'5 lefty allowed a hit and struck out two batters before being pulled for Dane Dunning. Having thrown on Sunday as well, Dunning would get the bulk of relief work. He walked just one and struck out two batters in 1.2 innings.

In the ninth inning, Kirby Snead would relieve Dunning as a lefty specialist. After striking out FAU's Sean Labsan, Snead was pulled and Brady Singer induced two groundouts to end the game and earn the first save of his career.

Offensively, the Gators did all of their scoring through true freshmen in the bottom of the second inning. After Deacon Liput doubled with one out in the inning, Nelson Maldonado smoked a triple down the right field line to tie the game. As Maldonado came into third base, the throw deflected off of him and skirted toward the outfield.

Seeing an opportunity, Florida third base coach Craig Bell sent Maldonado home and the freshman hustled 90 more feet to score what would eventually be the deciding run of the ball game. Seeing a play like this had my heart racing and it took legitimately five minutes for my heart rate to return to normal.

Nelson Maldonado settling in the box just moments before he would give the Gators the lead and ultimately the win.

Besides Liput and Maldonado's extra base hits, the rest of the Gator offense was nonexistent last night. Leadoff man Dalton Guthrie was the only other batter to figure out FAU's pitching as he went 2-4 and stole his fifth bag of the year.

Final Takeaway:
Avoiding the upset, the #1 Florida Gators remain undefeated at home and will be embarking on a four-game road trip before returning to the Mac next weekend. Before previewing the Kentucky series this weekend, here are my final tidbits for last night's nail biter:

  • FAU outhit Florida five to four.
  • The Gator pitching staff struck out 11 Owl batters but also walked four. FAU's staff struck out just six Gator batters but walked only three.
  • FAU right fielder Brett Lashley went 2-4 in the contest.
  • FAU second baseman Stephen Kerr made an incredible diving catch on an infield pop up for the first out of the first inning.
  • Mike Rivera did not play in the game, as he is still recovering from a head injury he sustained in Sunday's game against Missouri.

Definitely refocused after last night, Florida is now 11-1 against teams from the state of Florida this year. With two days of rest upcoming, the Gators will now turn their attention to a road series with the Kentucky Wildcats (14-5, 2-1 in SEC play).

The pitching rotation will be the same as usual for the weekend. Ace Logan Shore will get the Friday night start, lefty A.J. Puk will get the Saturday afternoon start, and Alex Faedo will throw the 1 p.m. Sunday game. This will be a tough series as Kentucky is a very decent team. 

Taking two out of three games would be great, but of course a sweep would be fantastic! The first game is at 6:30 p.m. and all three games can be seen on the SEC Network.

As for FAU (2-1 in Sun Belt play), they return home to Boca Raton this weekend to take on the UAB Blazers (9-12, 2-1 in Sun Belt play). The first game is at 6:30 p.m. 

*All stats accredited to

Sunday, March 20, 2016

UF Baseball: #1 Florida Sweeps Missouri

The #1 Florida Gators (21-1, 3-0 in SEC play) completed their sweep of the Missouri Tigers (14-9, 0-3 in SEC play) with a 7-5 victory today.

Alex Faedo (5-0) got the start and delivered a strong five innings before running into trouble in the sixth inning. He would be pulled with two outs in the sixth and finished with a stat line of 5.2 innings pitched, five earned runs allowed on six hits, nine strikeouts, no walks, and a hit batsman. Despite one rough inning, Faedo's work would not go unrewarded as he notched his fifth victory of the season.

Once Faedo exited, the Gator bullpen allowed no more runs. Kirby Snead and Scott Moss came in and combined to throw one full inning. When Mizzou threatened with runners on base in the seventh and eighth, Dane Dunning came in and (despite hitting a batter) struck out two batters in 1.1 innings of solid relief.

Shutting it down in the ninth, closer Shaun Anderson came in and bypassed a leadoff hit with a strikeout and a double play ball to secure the sweep.

Offensively, Florida banged out 11 hits and did most of its scoring in the first four innings. Eight of Florida's nine starters recorded a hit today with Buddy Reed notching three of them!

Reed was a huge catalyst in the lineup today as he went 3-4 with a home run, two RBI's, two runs scored, two walks, and a stolen base. The only other Gator with multiple hits was Dalton Guthrie, who finished 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

Along with Reed, Florida's other main run producer today was Mike Rivera. He had just one hit, but it was a big one as he doubled in a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately, Rivera would have to exit the game shortly thereafter due to an injury.

Final Takeaway:
The #1 Florida Gators now have their first SEC series under their belt after a tough fight against Missouri all weekend. Before previewing this upcoming week of action, here are my final tidbits for today's game:

  • JJ Schwarz drew a team-high two walks today and broke out of a rut when he hit a double off the wall to give the Gators a much needed insurance run in the bottom of the eighth.
  • Like Schwarz, Peter Alonso's only hit of the day was an RBI double.
  • Deacon Liput did not record a single hit today (0-4) and failed to reach base for the first time in his Gator career.
  • Nelson Maldonado smacked his first career triple when he hit a shot to dead center field. He finished the day 1-4.
  • Buddy Reed's home run was his second of the year and came from the right side of the plate. He has now hit a home run batting both righty and lefty!
  • The Gator pitching staff walked no one and combined for 12 strikeouts of Missouri hitters.
  • Shaun Anderson pitched his third consecutive game and earned his second-straight save today (his third of the year).
  • Jonathan India stole his fifth bag of the season today. Buddy Reed stole his ninth.
  • Peter Alonso made a spectacular diving play on a ground ball to his left and flipped it to Alex Faedo at first base for the first out of the game.
  • Rivera's injury was a peculiar one. He got hit in the head by the incoming throw from left field upon sliding into second base after hitting a double. He would be escorted off the field and replaced by Mark Kolozsvary for the remainder of the game.
  • Speaking of Kolozsvary, he cut down the only runner who tested his arm when he threw out Mizzou's Brian Sharp trying to steal second base in the top of the fifth inning.

Riding a 14-game winning streak, the Gators return to action on March 22nd to face the #18 Florida Atlantic Owls (15-3). I have a good feeling that freshman Jackson Kowar will get the start and it would be really cool if FAU threw my old high school teammate Weston Clemente to face him!
Game time is 7 p.m. and it can all be seen on the SEC Network. I of course will be there in person to see it all unfold live.

After FAU, the Gators will head to Lexington to take on the Kentucky Wildcats (13-5, 2-1 in SEC play) in their second road series of the year. That will be a fun one to watch as well.

As for Missouri, they get a week of rest as they prepare for a home series against the Vanderbilt Commodores (17-3, 1-2 in SEC play). The first game is at 7 p.m. and it can easily be assumed that both teams will throw their respective aces, Reggie McClain (Mizzou) and Jordan Sheffield (Vandy).

*All stats accredited to

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

UF Baseball: #1 Florida Shuts Out #11 Florida State

The #1 Florida Gators (18-1) improved their winning streak to 11 games with a 6-0 victory over the #11 Florida State Seminoles (13-4) in Gainesville last night.

Dane Dunning (2-0) was given the start for Florida and was spectacular in a game of this magnitude. He tossed 5.2 scoreless innings, scattered seven hits, walked just one, hit a batter, and stuck out five on route to his second win of the season.

After Dunning's departure in the sixth inning, freshman Jackson Kowar came on in relief and was brilliant as he allowed just one hit and struck out three in two scoreless innings of work.

After Kowar, Kirby Snead came in to get the final out of the eighth before Shaun Anderson entered in the ninth to close it out. Giving up just one hit, Anderson struck out two batters and induced a game-ending ground out to secure the shutout over their arch rival.

Dane Dunning stepped it up last night as he executed his pitches and stymied any potential FSU rallies.

Offensively, Florida mustered just nine hits against FSU. However, these hits came in bunches and included a couple of home runs. JJ Schwarz led all Gator hitters as he went 3-5 with an RBI and a run scored. It seems that every time JJ plays FSU, he destroys their pitching.

The only other Gator hitter with multiple hits was Jonathan India, who finished 2-4 with a double and an RBI from the nine-hole.

The other two Gators who drove in runs both did it via the long bomb. In the bottom of the second inning, Nelson Maldonado got the Florida Faithful excited early as he smoked a 2-1 pitch over the left field wall to give Florida an early 1-0 lead.

In the very next inning, Peter Alonso put a charge into a 2-1 pitch and parked it over the left field fence for a two-run bomb that push the Gator lead to 3-0. From there, Florida never looked back.

Peter Alonso has been on fire as he has homered in two of the last three games.

Final Takeaway:
Florida has now beaten Florida State in five straight meetings at McKethan Stadium (I am including postseason play here). Before wrapping up my recap of a fantastic win, here are my final tidbits from Game 1 of the Sunshine Showdown:

  • Florida has now shutout instate rivals Miami, UCF, and Florida State all in the same season.
  • This is Florida's first shutout of FSU in Gainesville since March 3, 1994. I wasn't even alive then!
  • Florida has won 20 straight games at McKethan Stadium and remains undefeated at home in 2016.
  • Jackson Kowar had the fan of the year supporting him last night as a random fan (his friend I presume) got on his feet and chanted Jackson's name along with some other sayings throughout the freshman's entire outing. This fan was very entertaining to watch and I would like to say it had a positive influence on Kowar as he was dynamic in relief. This same fan would give a repeat performance for Kirby Snead's brief appearance as well.
  • Nelson Maldonado's home run was his second of the year, while Peter Alonso's home run was his third of the year.
  • Buddy Reed stole his team-leading eighth bag of the season after missing the final two games of the Harvard series. He would actually reach third base when FSU catcher Cal Raleigh threw the ball into the outfield as no one covered second base.
  • FSU committed three errors in the game. They dropped about four pop ups (three of which were in foul territory), bobbled a double play ball at shortstop, and airmailed a ball into centerfield. FSU first baseman Dylan Busby also got a lot of heat from Florida fans as he was responsible for two of the dropped pop ups.
  • FSU used a total of six pitchers in the contest.
  • The Gator pitching staff struck out 11 Seminoles and walked just one. Likewise, FSU's army of pitchers stuck out nine Gators but surrendered four walks.
  • In the top of the sixth inning with no outs and runners on first and second, third baseman Jonathan India made a spectacular diving play and, from his knees, turned a 5-4-3 double play (third to second to first). 
  • Nelson Maldonado made some great plays in left field all night long.
  • In the bottom of the fifth inning, a near five-minute stoppage in play occurred after Dalton Guthrie struck out and Jeremy Vasquez was called out trying to score on a wild pitch. After deliberation, the umps reversed the call and called Vasquez safe. It was honestly a very baffling situation and I was just happy to see Florida get one more run added to their total.
  • The Mac was packed tonight as 5917 were in attendance for the game. This was the fifth largest crowd in UF history.

The #1 Florida Gators continue to roll as they dispatched #11 FSU with no real problems last night. Words cannot describe how bad I wanted them to win this game, and a win like this is a great momentum boost heading into SEC play this weekend.

With two more games left against the 'Noles, this battle is far from over. Florida will face FSU again on March 29th in Jacksonville and April 12th in Tallahassee. Both of those games will be difficult to win, but also good measuring sticks of the Gators' team progression.

The next rematch is two weeks away though. Looking ahead to this weekend, Florida opens up conference play as the Missouri Tigers (13-6) come to town. The weekend rotation should be the same as Logan Shore will throw Friday night, A.J. Puk will throw Saturday night, and Alex Faedo will throw Sunday afternoon. All of these games can be seen on the SEC Network.

As for Florida State, they will look to score some runs next time around as they hit the road to face the Pittsburgh Panthers (7-6) in a three game series.

*All stats accredited to

Saturday, March 12, 2016

UF Baseball: #1 Florida Sweeps Harvard

The #1 Florida Gators (17-1) defeated the Harvard Crimson (2-5) in today's doubleheader by a score of 9-2 in Game 2 and a 3-1 in Game 3 to earn their third weekend sweep of the year.

Game 2
Searching for his first win of the year, A.J. Puk (0-1) started the day game of the doubleheader and turned in his best performance of the year as he threw 5.1 strong innings of one-hit baseball. He allowed just one run, walked four, and struck out three.

Puk did leave the game with a 2-1 lead and was in line to get the win with freshman Brady Singer coming on in relief. However, a questionable call at the plate allowed Harvard to tie the game and disqualified Puk from earning the win. It would be his second straight no-decision.

Singer instead would pick up his second victory of the year as Florida exploded for eight runs during his time on the bump. Singer kept Harvard at bay in his 2.2 innings of work as he gave up one run on four hits, walked two, and struck out four.

Coming in to seal the deal in his second collegiate appearance was freshman Michael Byrne. He worked a perfect ninth as he struck out two and secured the series win for the Gators.

The Gator offense was idle for the first five innings until putting up a four-spot in the sixth and a three-spot in the seventh. For the second consecutive game, eight of Florida's nine starters had at least one hit as the Gators banged out 13 hits on the day.

The middle of the lineup tore it up for Florida today. JJ Schwarz had a multi-hit game as he went 2-4 with a double and run scored. Cleanup man Peter Alonso led the way for all Gator hitters as he went 3-4 with a home run, three RBI's, and a run scored. Behind him, Jeremy Vasquez also had a multi-hit game as he went 2-3 with a double, one RBI, and one run scored.

At the bottom of the lineup, freshman Nelson Maldonado helped put a 2-1 game out of reach in the bottom of the sixth when he belted a three-run bomb over left field for his first collegiate home run. This would be Maldonado's only hit of the contest.

Final Takeaway:
Before getting into my recap of the series finale, here are my final tidbits for Game 2:

  • Filling in for an injured Buddy Reed at center field, Nick Horvath provided a spark from the nine-hole as he went 2-3.
  • Dalton Guthrie stole his fourth bag of the year in today's game.
  • Peter Alonso's homer was his second of the year and accounted for all of his RBI's in the game. It was an absolute shot to left field that went completely out of McKethan Stadium.
  • Deacon Liput was the only Gator starter not to record a hit in the game.
  • The Gator pitching staff combined for nine Crimson strikeouts.
  • Freshman Danny Reyes was the only pinch hitter to record a hit and score today.

Game 3
The nightcap saw a dramatic decrease in attendance, but that did not stop Alex Faedo (4-0) from coming out and throwing one of the best games I've seen all season. Faedo mowed down Harvard's lineup for 8.1 innings as he struck out a career-high 13 batters, allowed just two hits, and gave up one earned run in the ninth inning.

After Faedo yielded just the second hit of the game in the ninth inning, many Gator fans were disgruntled to see Coach Kevin O'Sullivan head out and pull him in favor of Kirby Snead with his starter just two outs away from the shutout. To a degree I was slightly upset, but Faedo had already thrown such an amazing game up to this point. All I could do was give him a standing ovation and just take in what I had witnessed.

Snead made it interesting as Harvard cut a 3-0 lead to 3-1 and got the tying run to the plate, but he was able to keep it together and close out the game for his first save of the season.

For six innings, Florida could not figure out Crimson starter Nick Gruener as he was matching Alex Faedo pitch for pitch. The breakthrough finally came through in the bottom of the seventh when Peter Alonso and Jeremy Vasquez both singled with no outs. After Mike Rivera moved them over with a well placed bunt, the stage was set for freshman Nelson Maldonado.

On a 1-1 count, Maldonado belted a double in the gap to give the Gators a 2-0 lead and would end up scoring on a beautiful safety squeeze from Nick Horvath. This would be all the run production the Gator pitching staff would need as Faedo nearly went the distance and Snead shut the door.

Final Takeaway:
The #1 Florida Gators are now on a 10-game winning streak heading into a highly touted home contest with the #15 Florida State Seminoles on Tuesday. Before previewing this game, here are my final tidbits for the series finale vs Harvard:

  • Harvard did not get their first hit until there was one out in the top of the seventh inning.
  • In the top of the seventh with Crimson runners on first and second, Nick Horvath made a spectacular diving catch in center field to save a run. Not only that, he got up and threw a strike to second base to double up Josh Ellis and get Florida out of the inning unscathed.
  • Dalton Guthrie made a spectacular play in the top of the fourth inning as he dove to his left, spun around, and threw a bullet to first base for the out.
  • Rounding out spectacular defensive plays, left fielder Nelson Maldonado showcased his speed and made a clutch running catch in the top of the ninth inning for the first out. At the time, this kept Faedo's shutout bid alive.
  • Peter Alonso was the team's leading hitter in this game as well as he went 3-4 with a double and a run scored.
  • Florida struck out nine times tonight in this game with JJ Schwarz drawing the only walk.
  • Alex Faedo actually had one less day of rest since he start was pushed up from Sunday to Saturday, which makes his performance even that much greater.

Riding some serious momentum right now, #1 Florida (17-1) will prepare to do battle with in-state rival Florida State (12-3) in the first of three separate games this season. I anticipate that Dane Dunning will get the start on the mound and I don't have the faintest idea who Florida State will throw. 

It's gonna be packed, loud, and an electric atmosphere. No matter what sport, whenever Florida and Florida State hook up, school pride is always on the line. Game time is 7 p.m. on March 15th. The game can be seen on the SEC Network.

As for Harvard (2-5), they will head to Clearwater, Florida for two games against Massachusetts (0-4) and four games against Army (4-8). The first game against Massachusetts is on March 15th at 10 a.m.

*All stats accredited to

UF Baseball: #1 Florida Obliterates Harvard

The #1 Florida Gators (15-1) improved to their winning streak to nine games with a sound 16-5 victory over the Harvard Crimson (2-3) tonight.

Gator ace Logan Shore (4-0) got the start tonight and did not have his best stuff as Harvard tagged him for five runs on nine hits. Nearly everything the Crimson hit, regardless if it was a base hit or an out, was hit hard. Getting major run support from his offense, Shore got away with having an off game and notched his fourth win of the year. His final stat line was 96 pitches thrown in six innings of work with six strikeouts and a hit batsman.

Relieving Shore in the seventh inning was the hard throwing sophomore Scott Moss. The lefty was brilliant in his two innings of work as he allowed just one hit and struck out five batters!

Coming on in the ninth to end a long night was freshman Eddy Demurias. Besides a walk and a hit batsman, Demurias worked a clean ninth and recorded a strikeout as he shut the door on the Crimson.

The Gator offense was insane tonight as they banged out a season-high 20 hits and scored a season-high 16 runs! Eight of Florida's nine hitters had two hits or more with Deacon Liput recording a career-high four hits!

At the top of the lineup, Dalton Guthrie went 3-4 with a double, an RBI, a walk, and two runs scored. In the three-hole, JJ Schwarz was a perfect 3-3 as he doubled, knocked in two, walked, and scored thrice. In the cleanup spot, Peter Alonso was all about twos as he went 2-2 with a double, two RBI's, two walks, and two runs scored.

Along with a 4-6 performance at the plate, Deacon Liput also tied his career-high in RBI's as he drove in a four Gators and scored once as he continues to kill it in the fifth spot of the lineup. The sixth through ninth batters were all 2-4 tonight. Mike Rivera put his early season slump way behind him as he homered, doubled, plated three RBI's, walked, and scored twice.

The bottom three of Jeremy Vasquez, Nelson Maldonado, and Jonathan India all had two singles a piece, with Vasquez and India scoring once and Maldonado scoring twice. India also stole his fourth base of the season.

Final Takeaway:
The #1 Gators did a great job setting the tone for the series with a dominating Friday night victory. Before previewing the doubleheader tomorrow, here are my final tidbits from tonight's impressive win:

  • Buddy Reed was the only Gator starter to go hitless as he went 0-3 with an RBI ground out. He was removed from the game after colliding with left fielder Nelson Maldonado in the top of the fifth inning.
  • The Gators used a total of 18 players in the game tonight.
  • Mike Rivera's three-run home run tonight was his fourth of the season and moved him past JJ Schwarz for the team lead.
  • Nelson Maldonado had an assist as he gunned down Harvard's DJ Link to end the second inning. 
  • Dalton Guthrie nailed a runner at the plate as well as he cut down Trent Bryan trying to steal home.
  • Harvard used six pitchers in the contest.
  • Harvard balked in a run in the bottom of the third inning.
  • Harvard banged out 10 hits tonight. Nine of them came in the first six innings of the game.
  • Florida drew nine walks and struck out just twice as a team. Conversely, Harvard drew just two walks and struck out 12 times as a team.
  • Both JJ Schwarz and Ryan Larson were hit by a pitch tonight.

With Sunday's game being moved to Saturday night due to weather concerns, Gator fans will be treated with a good ol' fashion doubleheader! The first game is at 4 p.m. and lefty A.J. Puk (0-1) will get the start. 

The nightcap will start either at 7 p.m. or 45 minutes after the first game concludes. Alex Faedo (3-0) will get the start as he attempts to stay perfect on the year. Both games can be seen on the SEC Network. It will definitely be a long day at the ballpark for me!

*All stats accredited to

Sunday, March 6, 2016

UF Baseball: #1 Florida Sweeps Dartmouth

The #1 Florida Gators completed their sweep of the Dartmouth Big Green with an 8-6 victory today.

Alex Faedo (3-0) took the mound for the Gators and allowed three earned runs on six hits in five innings of work. He walked one and struck out four on 78 pitches. At one point down 3-0 Faedo was pinned to get the loss, but a resurgence from the Gator lineup instead got him his third win of the year.

Pitching for the second straight day, lefty Kirby Snead entered in the sixth inning and put in a much better performance. In 1.1 innings pitched, he allowed just one hit and walked one while holding Dartmouth scoreless.

After Snead, my buddy Frank Rubio came in for 2.1 innings and had a rough outing to say the least as he allowed three earned runs on four hits, walked one, and struck out two. Frank did work out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the seventh, and most of Dartmouth's hits against him came with just one runner on base.

After Rubio was removed with two outs in the ninth, lefty Nick Horvath came in and recorded the final out to earn his first save of the year.

Offensively, the Gators remained quiet until the fourth inning when JJ Schwarz crushed his third home run of the year over left center to cut the lead to 3-1. He finished the game 1-3 with two RBI's. In fact, the entire top of the lineup had multiple RBI's as Dalton Guthrie and Buddy Reed both had two RBI's a piece.

Buddy's clutch performance at the plate carried over from last night. In the bottom of the fifth with one out and runners on first and second, he smacked a triple down the right field line to knot the game up at three. It was his only hit of the contest, but it was also a momentum changer. Reed would score on a ball that went through the shortstop's legs to give Florida a 4-3 lead, and the Gators would keep the lead for the remainder of the game.

Final Takeaway:
The Gators have now won six games in a row and recorded their second series sweep of the season. Before giving my final analysis, here are my tidbits from Game 3:

  • Everyone in the lineup except Nelson Maldonado had at least one hit. 
  • Dalton Guthrie, Deacon Liput, and Jonathan India were the only Gators to notch two hits. All three of them doubled today. 
  • Along with JJ Schwarz, India was the only Gator to score twice.
  • Mike Rivera was the only Gator to draw a walk. He also belted his third home run of the season today in the sixth inning. It was a towering solo shot out to left field.
  • Florida and Dartmouth both banged out 12 hits a piece today.
  • Dalton Guthrie made an incredible diving catch in shallow center field in the top of the second inning with a runner on first. That play alone makes up for his throwing error last night.
  • Three Gators (JJ Schwarz, Peter Alonso, and Jonathan India) were hit by a pitch today.

With another sweep under their belt, #1 Florida (12-1) will rest tomorrow as they prepare for a home-and-home against the UNF Ospreys (6-6). The first game will be in Jacksonville on Tuesday, March 8, at 6 p.m. I have a feeling that Dane Dunning will get the start for the Gators, but honestly I have no concrete info on who Sully is going to go with. 

For Dartmouth (0-6), they are still searching for their first win of the young season. They will get a nice 10-day break before heading to Winter Haven, Florida, on March 16th for the Russ Matt Invitational. Their opponent will be the Bucknell Bison (5-5). Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m.

*All stats accredited to

UF Baseball: #1 Gators Walk Off To Win Dartmouth Series

The #1 Florida Gators captured a series victory over the Dartmouth Big Green with a memorable 4-3 walk off win in 12 innings.

The game's hero was no other than Buddy Reed. Leading off the bottom of the twelfth, Reed smoked the first pitch he saw over the right field fence and promptly ended the game. It was his first home run this season and also his second walk off of the year. It would also be Reed's only hit of the contest as he finished 1-3 with three walks.

Buddy Reed settling in early in the game. Little did he know the hero he would become just a few hours later. 

Of Florida's five hits, Buddy's home run was the only extra base hit of the day as JJ Schwarz, Deacon Liput, Nelson Maldonado, and Christian Hicks all singled. Schwarz finished as the leading RBI-getter as he drove in two runs while going 1-3 with two walks. Peter Alonso was the only other Gator to knock a guy in with his sacrifice fly in the fifth inning.

Despite the cold game from the offense throughout, the pitching held it down and kept the Gators in the game. A.J. Puk (0-1) started the contest and received his second no decision of the season as he threw five innings, allowed two earned runs on four hits, struck out four, and walked four.

Relieving for Puk in the sixth inning with runner's on first and second and no outs was Brady Singer. Masterfully working his way out of the jam, Singer would go on to toss three brilliant innings of no-hit baseball while striking out three.

In the ninth, Kirby Snead came on to close and was able to get two outs before surrendering a double and walking a man. The batter who doubled had also reached third by means of a passed ball before Snead issued the walk. Having seen enough, coach Kevin O'Sullivan pulled the lefty with an out to go and brought in Shaun Anderson to close out the game.

With the count 0-2 and runners on first and third, Anderson induced a ground ball to Dalton Guthrie that should have been the final out of the game. However, the shortstop made an errant throw to first base that pulled Peter Alonso off the bag and allowed Dartmouth to knot the score up at 3-3.

With runners on first and second now, Dartmouth's Kyle Holbrook singled into right field and the Big Green chose to send runner Dustin Shirley home for the go-ahead run. But right fielder Nick Horvath would have none of it as he fielded the ball and threw a strike to JJ at the plate to hose Shirley for the final out of the inning. From my view I will admit that Shirley looked safe, but hey I'll take the generous calls when we can get them.

Despite losing his save opportunity on a throwing error, Anderson was clutch and shut down Dartmouth's hitters in extra innings.

Three innings later, Reed sent us all home and gave Anderson his second win of the season. Shaun finished with a near flawless stat line of 3.1 innings pitched, one hit allowed, and four strikeouts.

Final Takeaway:
This is the second weekend series that the #1 Florida Gators have won. Tomorrow they will try to earn their second sweep of the season and notch their fifth consecutive win. Before previewing the series finale, however, here are my final tidbits from tonight's epic win:

  • Nelson Maldonado made a fine basket catch in the top of the fifth for the first out of the inning. If the game was televised it may have been a candidate for SportsCenter's Top 10.
  • Christians Hicks batted a perfect 1-1 while drawing two walks and scoring once before being subbed out for Jonathan India.
  • Dalton Guthrie was 0-6 tonight while Mike Rivera was 0-5.
  • Dartmouth snuffed out Jonathan India's bunt attempt with runners on first and second in the bottom of the eleventh as reliever Michael Danielak dove and caught the bunt the air before throwing it to second to double up Deacon Liput.
  • The Gator pitching staff combined for 11 strikeouts tonight.
  • Dartmouth outhit Florida 6-5.
  • Anderson's 3.1 innings of work were a career high. His four strikeouts tied a career-high.
  • This is the second time I have seen Buddy Reed end a game in person. The first time was when Reed delivered a game winning bloop single to beat Miami on February 20, 2015.

For Game 3 it will be Alex Faedo (2-0) toeing the rubber as #1 Florida (11-1) looks to sweep Dartmouth (0-5). It'll be a hot one as game time is 12 p.m. There is no television stream for the game, but it can be heard on Country 103.7 The Gator. Between a two hit-shutout on Friday and an extra innings affair tonight , I can only imagine what Game 3 has in store for us.

*All stats accredited to

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

UF Baseball: #1 Florida Shuts Out UCF For Sweep

The #1 Florida Gators shut out the UCF Knights by a score of 4-0 to earn a sweep of the home-and-home series.

Head Coach Kevin O'Sullivan trotted out freshman Jackson Kowar (1-0) for his first collegiate start and the 6'5 righty did not disappoint. In five innings of work, Kowar struck out eight Knights, allowed three hits, and gave up no runs on route to his first victory as a Gator.

After 66 pitches, Kowar's night was over and fellow freshman Brady Singer came on in relief. The flame-throwing righty was dynamic in his two innings of work as he struck out three and allowed just one hit.

In the eighth inning, Sully sent Singer to the showers early and brought in Shaun Anderson to finish out the game. Anderson had struggled in the ninth inning of Sunday's game vs Miami, so tonight presented a big bounce back opportunity for the junior. 

Needless to say, Anderson was dynamite tonight. He allowed just one hit and struck out two as he recorded the final six outs of the game and secured Florida's ninth win of the season.

Offensively, the Gator lineup cooled down upon returning to Gainesville. Florida only mustered three hits, but still somehow produced four runs. On a night of lackluster offense, it was to the Gators' advantage that two of their hits were home runs and that UCF made three fielding errors. 

The first Gator home run was a leadoff bomb from Dalton Guthrie to put the Gators up 1-0. After Guthrie's homer, UCF starter Trent Thompson held the Gators in check until a cataclysmic fourth inning. Buddy Reed started off the inning with a groundout to first base for what looked like a routine out.

However, UCF first baseman Austin Griffin opted to flip the ball to Thompson instead of just tag the bag when he was a mere step away. The result was chaos. The ball went off of Thompson's glove and Buddy ended up on second base with what would be ruled a base hit and then an error.

Reed would reach third base on the next pitch via balk and then Peter Alonso drove him in to push the lead to 2-0. Alonso's RBI came on a groundout that should have been an out, but UCF shortstop Brennan Bozeman misfielded it and the ball scooted into the outfield.

With Alonso on first base and one out after a Jeremy Vasquez strikeout, the struggling Mike Rivera strode to the plate. Slowly breaking out of his slump with a base hit yesterday, Rivera took a huge leap forward tonight as he crushed a first pitch slider over the left-centerfield fence for his second home run of the year. It would push the Gator lead to 4-0 and the #1 team in the country did not look back after that.

Final Takeaway:
Florida's pitching carried the team to victory today as the staff struck out 13 Knights tonight. Even on a night where the offense was off its game, the Gators still found a way to win in a pretty convincing fashion. 

A bad fourth inning is what dashed what overall had been a valiant effort from UCF in their attempts to split the home-and-home series. It's tough to come into Gainesville and win. It's even tougher when you can't score a run.

Here are some other tidbits of mine from this game before I preview the weekend series vs Dartmouth:
  • Deacon Liput's hitting streak of eight games is over after an 0-2 performance tonight. Peter Alonso's hitting streak of seven games is also over after an 0-4 slate tonight.
  • Dalton Guthrie extend his hitting streak to eight games with his leadoff blast.
  • Buddy Reed drew his second catcher's interference of the year when he swung at a pitchout that caught too much of the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning.
  • Upon being inserted into the game in the top of the seventh, left fielder Ryan Larson made a spectacular diving play for the second out of the inning.
  • The Gator pitching staff did not walk a single UCF batter.
  • Kowar's eight strikeouts are a career-high.
  • Eric Hepple, who I played against in high school, came on in relief in the seventh inning and was untouchable. He struck out the side in the seventh and retired all five Gator hitters that he faced in his 1.2 innings of work.
  • UCF out-hit Florida 5-3, but it just did not translate on the scoreboard.
  • This is Florida's second shutout within a week, with the first coming against Miami on February 26th (5-0 Gators).

With another in-state series in the book, #1 Florida (9-1) will now turn its attention to a home weekend series against the Dartmouth Big Green (0-3). The projected starters for this weekend are Logan Shore on Friday, A.J. Puk on Saturday, and Alex Faedo on Sunday. I am pretty confident this will hold up and be the Gator rotation for the weekend. Game 1 is Friday, March 4th. It is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. and can be heard on ESPN Gainesville.

As for UCF (6-4), they will try to end what is now a four-game losing streak as they hit the road to face the Rice Owls (4-5) in a three-game series. Game 1 in Houston is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

*All stats accredited to

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

UF Baseball: #1 Florida Slugs Past UCF

The #1 Florida Gators were victorious tonight as they defeated the UCF Knights in Orlando by a score of 9-5.

Dane Dunning was called upon to start this one and did a fair job for 3.1 innings. Throwing 72 pitches, he allowed three runs on four hits, struck out six, hit a batter, and walked just one. He would earn a no decision for the contest.

Coming on in relief for Dunning was sophomore Nick Horvath, who would go on to earn his first win of the season. The lefty tossed 2.2 innings of one-run ball and gave up just one hit while striking out two and walking one.

Entering in the seventh to finish out the game was my buddy Frank Rubio. Frank had a solid outing tonight as he threw three innings of one-run ball as well, allowed just two hits, and struck out one. Just the two walks issued tonight from the pitching staff were huge in the victory as Florida pitchers made certain that UCF batters would have to put the ball in play to get on base.

Offensively, the Gator lineup continues to roll as the #1 team in the nation banged out 14 hits for nine runs. Three different Gators had three hits tonight, the first time all season such an occurrence has happened.

In the leadoff spot, Dalton Guthrie went 3-6 with a double and scored twice. Right behind him in the two-hole, Buddy Reed got his bat back on track as he went 3-5 with a double, two RBI's, a run scored, and a stolen bag. For our final trifecta hitter, look all the way down to the bottom of the lineup and you will find freshman Jonathan India.

India killed it tonight as he notched a career-high three hits in five at-bats and smashed the first home run of his collegiate career! The homer would account for his lone RBI and India scored two of Florida's nine runs.

In regards to run-production, Jeremy Vasquez was the man of the hour. With the bases loaded in the first inning and one out, Vasquez delivered with a bases clearing double to give Florida an early 2-0 lead (Peter Alonso was cut down at the plate on a debatable call). Tacking on a sacrifice fly in the third, Vasquez would finish the night 1-4 with a career-high three RBI's.

Final Takeaway:
To take the front end of the home-and-home series against UCF in the Knights' building is a huge momentum wave that the Gators can ride back into the Wednesday contest in McKethan Stadium. Before I address Game Two though, let me give my final tidbits on tonight's victory:

  • Mike Rivera finally broke his 0-11 drought with a single in the third inning.
  • Deacon Liput upped his hitting streak to nine games with a 1-5 performance tonight. He has hit safely in ever game as a Gator thus far.
  • UCF simply did not want to pitch to JJ Schwarz or Peter Alonso tonight as the duo combined for five walks (two for Schwarz and three for Alonso).
  • JJ Schwarz's only hit tonight was a double. He finished 1-3 with an RBI and a run scored.
  • When he wasn't being walked, Peter Alonso handled the bat well as he went 1-2 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • UCF's No. 8 and 9 hitters were dynamic as Kam Gellinger went 2-3 with a double and three runs scored while Luke Hamblin went 3-3 with a run scored.
  • Jonathan India made a spectacular web gem to kick off the eighth inning and may be seen on SportCenter's Top 10 tonight.
  • UCF mustered just seven hits against Gator pitching tonight.

Concluding the mini-series in Gainesville tomorrow, the probable pitcher for the #1 Florida Gators (8-1) is unknown. Whoever Sully chooses, that player should sleep easy knowing he will have the luxury of the home crowd supporting him.

For UCF (6-3), this was their best chance to split the series. Winning in Gainesville will prove to be much more difficult, especially since the Knights haven't won at the Mac since 2011. Game time is set for 7 p.m., and the contest can be seen on the SEC Network.

*All stats accredited to