There were about as many blankets as there were baseball fans on a cold night Saturday to watch the Gator baseball team beat Miami 6-4.
The Gators came into the game with a six game losing streak and freshman Tucker Simpson on the bump.
Simpson battled through a few jams in the first four innings with six strikeouts, a career best and season high for the Gators; his only mistake was a two out RBI single by Miami’s Brandon Lopez in the fourth inning.
He ran into some trouble in the top of the fifth inning when two singles, a throwing error by third baseman Zack Powers and a wild pitch led to Miami tacking on two more runs. He left trailing the game.
Gator head coach Kevin O’Sullivan talks about Simpson.
To get out of the inning, O’Sullivan turned to sophomore Ryan Harris. Harris not only stopped the bleeding in the fifth inning, but then retired 10 of the next 12 batters he faced and turned the ball over to fellow sophomore Johnny Magliozzi.
O’Sullivan discusses the Harris and the game.
At the plate, the Gators could not seem to find an answer for the better half of the game. They had one hit through five innings. Sophomore Taylor Gushue’s sacrifice fly in the fourth was their only source of offense.
Casey Turgeon’s bat caught fire in the sixth when his leadoffsolo home run narrowed Florida’s deficit to 3-2.
Turgeon was at it again in the eighth when his leadoff walk sparked a Gator rally. Jordan Shafer’s double to center was followed by Powers being hit by a pitch to load the bases.
With the bases juiced and no one out, Gushue went with the pitch to right field and singled, driving in two runs and giving the Gators the lead.
O’Sullivan acknowledges Gushue’s RBI single.
Gushue talks about his thoughts at the plate on hi timely hit.
Miami seemed to unravel in the eighth. After losing the lead, Miami’s Adam Sargent threw two wild pitches, allowing another two runs to score.
Magliozzi, despite giving up one last run in the ninth inning, earned his first win this season.
After being swept by Florida Gulf Coast last weekend, the Gators were in danger of losing consecutive home weekend series for the first time in O’Sullivan’s six year tenure as head coach.
The Gators have claimed their last three regular season series against Miami, dating back to 2010, and they’ll have the chance to extend that to four on Sunday.
O’Sullivan speaks on final game of the series.
Tune in for live coverage Sunday at 12:55pm on Country 103-7 The Gator.