It was a beautiful night for baseball in McKethan Stadium Friday as the Florida Gators captured the opening game of the series against the Tennessee Volunteers 7-2. Freshman Danny Young started on the mound for Florida and threw a career high 5.2 innings and earned his second SEC win.
Justin Shafer first put the Gators on the board in the second inning with a leadoff homer to left field off Tennessee starting pitcher Aaron Quillen. It was Shafer’s fourth homer of the season and he says he’s trying to be more aggressive at bat.
In the third inning, freshman Harrison Bader started things off with a single and advanced to second on Cody Dent’s sacrifice bunt. Bader went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Richie Martin’s hit to left field. After Casey Turgeon lined a single to left field, Taylor Gushue recorded his fifth homer bringing the score to 5-0. Gushue says he was focused on getting a good swing.
Two more runs in the fifth increased Florida’s score to 7-0. Turgeon blasted his fifth homer of the season tying with Gushue for the most on the team and Gushue followed with a double, his 11th of the season. Shafer doubled down the left field line to score Gushue and Tennessee changed pitchers bringing in Eric Martin for Quillen who game up 10 hits and seven runs in 4.1 innings.
Young was struck by a line drive in the sixth after recording his first two outs. He left the game and went to Shands Hospital at the University of Florida to receive stitches in his upper lip where he was hit. Young was replaced by Aaron Rhodes who only worked one inning before being replaced by Parker Danciu. Gators coach Kevin O’Sullivan says Young is going to be fine.
Danciu worked 1.1 scoreless innings and freshman Tucker Simpson came in the ninth. Tennessee scored twice in the inning but Florida came out on top for the final score of 7-2.
The Gators pitched four freshman Friday night and O’Sullivan says he’s proud of them for stepping up because it helped save their bullpen.
The Gators and Vols continue the series Saturday night at 7pm.