Sunday, April 16, 2017

UF Baseball: No. 10 Florida vs Vanderbilt Series Recap

The No. 10 Florida Gators (24-12, 8-7 SEC) were victorious this weekend as they took two out of three games from the Vanderbilt Commodores (22-15, 7-8 SEC) up in Nashville. Here is a recap of each game.

Game 1 (April 13th)
Using a ninth-inning comeback, the No. 10 Florida Gators (23-11, 7-6 SEC) won the series opener by a score of 10-6 over the Vanderbilt Commodores (21-14, 6-7 SEC).

Junior ace Alex Faedo (5-1, 2.84 ERA) started this Thursday contest and got touched up a bit against the Commodore offense. Although just two of the them were earned, Faedo gave up six runs on seven hits in six innings of work. He struck out seven Vandy hitters while walking just one.

After 103 pitches, Faedo's night was over with the Gators down 6-4. Taking over pitching duties for the seventh was true freshman Garrett Milchin. He helped keep Vandy at bay as he allowed just one hit and struck out one in two innings of relief.

After Florida rallied from a 6-5 deficit to make it 10-6 in the ninth, sophomore closer Michael Byrne entered to seal the deal. He tossed a scoreless frame while striking out two and allowing a hit. He would induce a fly out for the final out to secure the win. In the process, Garrett Milchin was awarded his second win of both the year and his career.

Offensively, Florida banged out 17 hits while scoring 10 runs and also mounting their first ninth inning comeback of the season. Before I highlight the many offensive dignitaries on the night, here is a rundown of how the ninth inning went:

Ninth Inning
Down 6-5 entering the inning, Florida had the bottom portion of the lineup hitting. Jonathan India led things off with a single to right field. Christian Hicks then followed suit and moved India to third with a single to right field as well.

Up next was Ryan Larson, one of Florida's hottest hitters of late. He jumped on the first pitch he saw and knotted things up at six with a shot into left field. A Mark Kolozsvary bunt would put runners on second and third, which set up an intentional walk for leadoff man Deacon Liput.

With the bases loaded now, Dalton Guthrie came to the plate and smacked a 2-0 pitch into center field to give Florida a 7-6 advantage. This would prove to be just the calm before the storm, as true freshman Austin Langworthy came up to bat and hit a bases-clearing double down the left field line. It was now 10-6 Florida and all the wind had been taken out of Vanderbilt's sails.

Langworthy would swipe third base, but would not come in to score as JJ Schwarz struck out and Nelson Maldonaldo flew out to right field.

Offensive Performers
Five Gators had multiple hits in the game while all but two had at least a base knock in the contest. The top of the lineup accounted for nearly half of Florida's hits!

Starting in the leadoff spot, sophomore second baseman Deacon Liput went 3-5 with two runs scored, an RBI, and a walk. Behind him in the two-hole, junior shortstop Dalton Guthrie went 2-5 with a double, a run scored, and two RBI's. In the three-hole, center fielder Austin Langworthy made Vandy feel his presence as he went 3-5 with a career-high four RBI's, a walk, and three stolen bases.

Two spots down, sophomore right fielder Nelson Maldonaldo went 2-3 with a run scored, an RBI, and a game-high three walks. Finally is the man who stole the show with a career-day: Ryan Larson. The senior left fielder hit the ball all over the yard as he notched a career-high five hits on a 5-5 performance! He had two doubles, three runs scored, and two RBI's.

For the Gators with one hit, both Jonathan India and Christian Hicks went 1-5 with a run scored.

Final Takeaway
Winning the opener in a series of this magnitude is huge for Florida. To do it in the manner they did as well with a ninth inning comeback makes it even sweeter. Before moving to the Game 2 recap, here are my final tidbits on Florida's series opening victory:

  • Dalton Gurthie's double was his fourth of the year, Austin Langworthy's was his third, and Ryan Larson's pair puts him at five on the season.
  • Austin Langworthy's three stolen bases are the most he has ever had in one game and give him four on the year. Prior to this game, his only stolen base had come against William & Mary on February 18th.
  • Dalton Guthrie had a sacrifice fly in the third inning of this game, giving him three for the year.
  • Kolo's sac bunt was his second of the season.
  • The Gators made three errors in this game. Christian Hicks made a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the second inning that gave Vandy a 1-0 lead. Dalton Guthrie made an error in the bottom of the fourth inning on a grounder that eventually led to two Vandy runs and a 4-2 Commodore lead. In the very next inning, Alex Faedo made a bad throw to first base that fortunately did not turn into another run.
  • Faedo's lone walk to Will Toffey would be Vandy's only free pass of the game. On the other side, the Gators drew seven walks as a team.
  • Both teams registered 10 strikeouts between their starters and the bullpen.
  • This is the third time all season that Florida has scored double digit runs in a game.
  • Florida trailed the entire game until the ninth inning.
  • 3,148 fans were in attendance for this highly touted Thursday night matchup.

Game 2 (April 14th)
In the Game 2 contest on Friday night, it was deja vu for the No. 10 Florida Gators (23-12, 7-7 SEC). Similar to last season, Kyle Wright (2-4, 3.98 ERA) went the distance and shut them out as Vanderbilt (22-14, 7-7 SEC) won 2-0 to even the series.

Sticking with Wright pitch for pitch was sophomore right-hander Brady Singer (4-2, 1.68 ERA). He went the distance as the road starter, going eight innings on 101 pitches while allowing two runs on 11 hits. He struck out eight Commodores while walking just one.

On the other side, potential Top 10 draft pick Kyle Wright was phenomenal. After tossing a complete game shut out against Florida in Gainesville last season, the junior right-hander again cut through the Gator lineup.

Throwing all nine innings on just 99 pitches, Wright struck out a career-high 13 Gators while allowing only three hits for his second win of the season. He faced 30 batters, which is just three over the minimum. I tip my hat to Wright after a truly marvelous performance!

As just stated, Kyle Wright shut down the Gator offense on this night. Only three Gators had hits and they were all singles. The culprits were Austin Langworthy, Nelson Maldonaldo, and Mark Kolozsvary. Everyone but Christian Hicks had at least one strikeout. Five Gators (Deacon Liput, Austin Langworthy, JJ Schwarz, Jonathan India, and Kolo) had two strikeouts.

Final Takeaway
Florida just simply could not figure out Kyle Wright. That man was on another level and could not be touched this night. It is hard to even get upset after a loss like this when the opposing pitcher was throwing that good.

I give credit to Brady Singer as well though. He threw a gem himself and made sure Florida would not need to dip into the bullpen during this game.

Before recapping the rubber match, here are my final tidbits on Florida's shutout loss in Game 2:

  • This is the first time all season that Florida has been shut out. Their last shutout loss was to Florida State in Super Regionals back in June.
  • Going back to last season, Kyle Wright is 2-0 against Florida with 23 strikeouts and zero runs allowed in 18 innings. Truly remarkable!
  • This is the third time this season that Brady Singer has gone the distance!
  • Vandy picked up both of their runs in the fifth and seventh innings. They went up 1-0 on a throwing error from Kolo in the fifth and then 2-0 on a Jeren Kendall sac fly in the seventh.
  • This is the fourth game this season where Florida did not record an extra-base hit.
  • Kolo threw out two runners in this game to up his season total to four base stealers wiped off the base paths.
  • Not a single Gator hitter drew a walk against Wright. In fact, Wright had three ball counts on just three of the 30 batters he faced. Julian Infante was the only Commodore to earn a free pass against Brady Singer.
  • 3,626 fans showed out for this game.

*All stats accredited to

Game 3 (April 15th)
In the rubber match, the No. 10 Florida Gators (24-12, 8-7 SEC) won their third straight series over the Vanderbilt Commodores (22-15, 7-8 SEC) with an incredible 20-8 rout.

Sophomore right-hander Jackson Kowar (6-0, 3.51 ERA) remained undefeated on the year as he again turned in exactly five innings for the third consecutive game. In those frames, Kowar allowed six earned runs on 10 hits while striking out six and walking two.

After 79 pitches, Kowar was removed with the Gators holding a commanding 13-6 lead as the sixth inning rolled around. Taking his place was junior left-hander Nick Horvath, who did a great job making sure Vandy did not get back into this one. He gave Florida three solid innings of relief where he allowed two earned runs on six hits with two strikeouts.

When the ninth inning finally arrived and Florida was safely ahead 20-8, true freshman right-hander Tyler Dyson entered and mercifully put the Commodores away. After giving up a leadoff single, Dyson zoned in and sandwiched a strikeout between a pop out and a fly out to clinch the series victory.

Florida's offense was insane. Their 20 runs and 20 hits in this game were both season-highs. Florida scored in every inning except the second and fourth. They put up four in the first, eight in the third, one in the fifth, two in the sixth through eighth innings, and then one final run in the ninth to make it an even 20.

Every starter had at least one hit with all but Austin Langworthy having multi-hit games. I am just going to start with the top of the lineup and work down since I have never written about this prolific of an offensive performance from the Gators.

In the leadoff spot, Deacon Liput posted a 3-7 day with a triple, one run scored, and two RBI's. Liput's triple made it 15-6 Florida while his RBI groundout in the ninth helped the Gators reach the 20-run mark.

Behind him, Dalton Guthrie had himself a day as he went 2-4 with two solo home runs, three runs scored, two RBI's, and three walks. Dalt's first home run kicked off the scoring in the first and his second long ball in the eighth padded the lead at 18-7.

In the three-hole, Austin Langworthy went 1-4 with a double, three runs scored, and an RBI that upped the score to 13-5 in the fifth. He showed great patience like Guthrie as he worked three walks in the game.

In the cleanup spot, Ryan Larson continued to swing it well as he went 2-3 with a double, two runs scored, and two walks. He and Christian Hicks were the only starters without an RBI in the game. Both of them were also pinch hit for in the late stages of the game.

Behind Larson in the five-hole, Nelson Maldonaldo posted a 2-5 day with a home run, two runs scored, four RBI's, and a walk. Nelly jumpstarted things early with a three-run bomb in the first inning to make it 4-0 Florida before later singling in the third to extend the lead to 12-0.

Nelly was one of three Gators to drive in four runs, and that next guy was right behind him in the form of JJ Schwarz. Finally getting in the hit column in the last game of the series, Schwarz went 2-6 with a home run, two runs scored, and four RBI's. Of those four RBI's, his two in the third were the most compelling.

On a 2-2 count, JJ got jammed and broke his ALUMINUM bat as he poked the ball over the shortstop's head to plate both Nelly and Ryan Larson. I had seen an aluminum bat break in middle school ball, but I never fathomed that it could happen at the college level! It was a quite something to witness!

JJ's broken bat single made it 7-0, his solo shot in the seventh put Florida's lead at 16-7, and his ninth-inning ground out scored the 19th run of the contest.

Behind JJ in the seven-hole, Christian Hicks had a 3-5 day with a double and two runs scored. Behind him in the eight-hole, true freshman designated hitter Keenan Bell went 2-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. His single in the third inning kept Florida's rally going as the Gators went up 8-0.

Rounding out the offensive explosion from the nine-hole was junior catch Mark Kolozsvary. Tying his career-high of three hits, Kolo went 3-6 with two doubles, two runs scored, and a career-high four RBI's.

Kolo's first double made it an even 10-0 in the third inning as Bell and Hicks came across to score. In the sixth, his second double gave Florida a 14-6 advantage while his seventh inning single made it 17-7.

Florida pinch hit true freshman Austin Bodrato, sophomore Blake Reese, and Jonathan India in the last two frames of this blowout. Everyone but India (who drew a walk) struck out.

Final Takeaway
This was a great way for Florida to win the series after getting blanked the night before. Hopefully the offense is starting to click now and make Florida the national title frontrunner that many in the country expected them to be.

Taking two of three from Vandy on the road puts Florida in sole possession of second place and 1.5 games behind No. 14 Kentucky (24-12, 9-5 SEC). Before looking ahead to another big SEC at the Mac, here are my final tidbits on the series-clinching victory as well as the Vandy series a a whole:

  • This is the most runs that Florida has scored against Vandy since May 1, 1999.
  • Florida's 20 runs against Vandy is the most the Commodores have allowed since Tim Corbin took over in 2003.
  • With this series win, Florida has now won three of five road series against Vandy since Kevin O'Sullivan took over in 2008.
  • In Sully's ten years at the helm, the Gators have won 7 of 10 series over the 'Dores.
  • Under Sully, Florida is now 19-11 against Vandy in the regular season.
  • Florida is now 6-3 against SEC East opponents.
  • This is the fourth game (and second this series) where Florida has put up double digit runs.
  • The last time Florida scored 20+ runs in a game was on April 7, 2015, when they crushed the Stetson Hatters 22-2.
  • The Commodores honored fallen pitcher Donny Everett in this game. As a a 19-year old freshman, he tragically lost his life in a drowning accident last June. Hopefully he was a man of faith and is in a much better place!
  • Austin Langworthy's double was his fourth of the year, Larson's was his sixth, Hicks's was his fourth, and Kolo's pair gave him his first two of the season.
  • Deacon Liput's triple was his second of the year and now gives him the team lead for that stat category.
  • Dalton Guthrie's home runs put him at three on the year, which ties his combined career total from his freshman and sophomore seasons. He is the first Gator with a multi-homer game this year.
  • Nelly's home run gives him two on the season.
  • JJ Schwarz's long ball was his fourth of the season and ties him for the team lead with Jonathan India.
  • As a team, Florida drew 11 walks while Vandy had just two.
  • Despite getting blown out, Vandy still had six guys register multi-hit games on the day (Jeren Kendall, Stephen Scott, Julian Infante, Ethan Paul, Jason Delay, and JJ Bleday).
  • Florida was errorless in this game while Vandy recorded one. For the series, Florida finishes with four total errors and Vandy with just the one in the finale.
  • Yet again, exactly 3,626 fans were in attendance for this game.

*All stats accredited to

Looking Ahead
With their third SEC series win of the year under their belt, the No. 10 Florida Gators (24-12, 8-7 SEC) will prepare for a midweek contest with the North Florida Ospreys (26-13) at the Mac this upcoming Tuesday. One of the true freshmen will get the ball and hopefully Florida will carry over the offensive momentum from the series finale against Vandy.

Florida is 9-4 all-time against the Ospreys in Sully's tenure. They have currently won three straight against UNF and have not lost to them to since the 2013 season. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. The game can be seen on the the SEC Network+ and heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network.

For the weekend series, the No. 11 South Carolina Gamecocks (21-13, 7-7 SEC) come into town fresh off a home series loss against the No. 21 Mississippi State Bulldogs (25-12, 10-4 SEC). The Gators have not dropped a series to the Gamecocks since 2011.

Like always, this three-game bout with South Carolina will be vital in the battle for the SEC East crown. Depending if the Gamecocks salvage the series finale against Mississippi State on Easter Sunday, they may have an even 8-7 conference record coming into this series.

Florida cannot afford to drop this series if they want to keep pace with Kentucky for first place. The same can be said for South Carolina, who are the defending SEC East Division Champions. This will be another Thursday through Saturday series as the thick of exams hits many students during this upcoming week.

Florida's probable starers will be the usual suspects. Alex Faedo will get the ball for the 7:30 p.m. game on Thursday, Brady Singer will throw the 7 p.m. game on Friday, and Jackson Kowar will start the noon game on Saturday.

South Carolina will most likely counter with junior right-hander Clarke Schmidt (4-1, 1.31 ERA), sophomore right-hander Adam Hill (2-3, 2.23 ERA), and junior right-hander Will Crowe (3-3, 3.49 ERA).

Like the Vandy series, Game 1 can be seen on ESPNU, Game 2 can be seen on the SEC Network+, and Game 3 can be seen on ESPN2. All of them can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network.

As for Vanderbilt (22-15, 7-8 SEC), they will shake off their third straight series loss to Florida as they hit the road for the upcoming week. They will travel to Murfreesboro to take on the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (19-17) before heading to Athens for a three-game series against the underachieving Georgia Bulldogs (15-22, 4-11 SEC).



No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.