Sunday, May 15, 2016

UF Baseball: #7 Vandy Shuts Out #1 Florida

The No. 1 Florida Gators (42-9, 17-8 in SEC play) were shutout for the first time this season after losing 5-0 to the No. 7 Vanderbilt Commodores (37-14, 15-11 in SEC play).

A.J. Puk (2-3, 2.88 ERA) pitched a great game, but yet again received no run support as he lost his third decision of the season. Throwing six innings, Puk allowed just one earned run, struck out 11, and walked two.

Puk's only blemish came early in the game, as Julian Infante tagged him for a towering solo home run in the top of the second inning. Despite the long ball, Puk was dealing today. This was his fourth outing with double-digit strikeouts. 

When Puk exited, the score was just 1-0 in favor of Vandy. Once the bullpen took over, the game got ugly.

Dane Dunning entered and allowed one earned run on three hits in 0.2 innings of work. He struck out just one. After Dunning departed, Kirby Snead came in and was roughed up for three runs on three hits. His only walk was an intentional pass to Vandy catcher Jason Delay.

Once Snead was pulled, Frank Rubio came in and recorded his only out via a strikeout. He also gave up a hit and hit a batter in his 0.1 innings on the mound. 

Ending the mayhem was freshman Michael Byrne. Lasting the longest of the three relievers, Byrne threw 1.1 hitless innings while striking out one and walking one.

On the other side of the diamond, Vandy's Kyle Wright (7-3, 1.67 ERA) tossed an absolute gem. Going the distance and facing 29 batters (two over the minimum), Wright allowed no runs on just three hits, struck out 10, and walked two on a career-high 115 pitches. It was an incredible performance to watch, and I tip my hat to the Commodore's sophomore.

On that note, the Gator offense was dreadful. The only Gators to record a hit were Dalton Guthrie, Mike Rivera, and Jonathan India. All of their base knocks were singles. Florida never mounted an offensive threat the entire afternoon, as not one Gator reached third base.

Final Takeaway:
With both teams splitting the first two games, the No. 1 Florida Gators will look to win their sixth SEC series in their final regular season game at the Mac. Before previewing the rubber match, here are my final tidbits from a tough Game 2 loss:

  • The Gators have scored just four runs in Puk's last four starts.
  • This is just Florida's fourth loss at the Mac (28-4).
  • Florida seniors Jason Lombardozzi and Mike Fahrman were honored for their four years of contributions to the Gator baseball program today. Unfortunatley, neither of the two played in the game.
  • Three Vandy players had two hits in the game. They were Julian Infante (2-4 with a home run and two RBI's), Jason Delay (2-4 with two runs scored), and Connor Kaiser (2-4 with an RBI).
  • Kyle Wright has now won three starts in a row.
  • Three Gators accounted for multiple strikeouts against Wright. They were Deacon Liput, Buddy Reed, and Nick Horvath.
  • Speaking of Horvath, he was picked off in the bottom of the sixth inning.
  • This is the first time since April 24, 2015, that the Gators have been shutout at home.

Seeking to take the series and stay in the SEC East race, Florida will trot out sophomore righty Alex Faedo (9-1, 3.10 ERA) to get the job done. Faedo will be looking for his 10th victory and needs nine strikeouts to reach 100 on the season. I can't say for certain who Vandy will counter with, but I have a feeling it will be Patrick Raby (6-1, 2.09 ERA).

Game time for the rubber match is 1 p.m. It can be seen on the SEC Network and heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network.

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