Florida baseball was able to rally from behind for a 5-3 win against the UCF Knights for its third-straight win. The Gators improved to 14-16 this season and the Knights fell to 18-12. The win marked the eighth time this season the Gators had a comeback victory.
The Knights opened the scoring in the top of the second against Florida starter Tucker Simpson. UCF scored two runs on three hits to take the early lead. Simpson only went 1.2 innings, giving up three hits, two runs and a walk on 28 pitches.
Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan turned to left-hander Daniel Gibson to get the final out of the second. Gibson was able to keep the Gators in the game and threw a career high 4.1 innings, only giving up three hits and two walks while striking out three on 59 pitches. Florida catcher Taylor Gushue said that the bullpen came up big keeping them in the game.
The Gators were able to rally back in the bottom of the sixth. Casey Turgeon led off with a single, advanced to second on a force out and scored on Gushue’s single, cutting the deficit to 2-1. Against reliever Zac Favre, Gushue stole second and came home on a two out double by first baseman Vickash Ramjit to tie the game at 2-2.
O’Sullivan then turned to right-hander Ryan Harris in the top of the seventh. Harris struck out the first batter he faced, but then he gave up a one-out double to UCF shortstop Tommy Williams. He responded by striking out Ryan Breen looking before giving up an RBI single to JaMarcos Woods as the Knights took the lead 3-2.
Florida answered in the bottom of the seventh. Right fielder Cory Reid kicked off the inning with an infield hit and was sacrificed to second by Cody Dent. Turgeon reached base after getting hit by a pitch and both runners moved up on a fielder’s choice. With two outs, Gushue hit a ground ball to short that was booted for an error, allowing Reid to score the tying run. A wild pitch scored Turgeon to give Florida a 4-3 lead. Harris says scoring runs with two outs are usually the difference maker.
The Gators added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI fielder’s choice by Harrison Bader, and closer Johnny Magliozzi retired the Knights in the final inning to earn his sixth save. Harris got the win (4-2) after throwing two innings, allowing two hits, a run with one walk and a career-high four strikeouts.
The Gators will take their three-game win streak into to Starkville for a weekend series with Mississippi State on Friday. Harris said the team is feeling loose after playing better recently.
The Bulldogs are 24-8 this season and 3-6 in SEC play. You can catch all of the action right here on Country 103-7 The Gator on Friday at 7:25 p.m.