The No. 16 ranked Florida Gators fell to No. 11 Miami Hurricanes Friday night in the opening game of a three-game set by a 6-4 score.
The Gators came out strong with a 3-0 lead in the game’s first inning off Miami’s Chris Diaz. Early RBI singles came from Taylor Gushue and Justin Shafer, along with an RBI double from Braden Mattson plated the Gator runs.
The big hitters for the Gators were Taylor Gushue (4-4) with two doubles, two runs scored, and an RBI and Ryan Larson (2-4), as hey were the only Gator players to have multiple hits in the game. Both Florida and Miami finished the night with 10 hits.
Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan says he was really impressed by Gushue’s performance.
“He swung the bat really well tonight. That was probably his best offensive night this year. He saw the ball really well.”
The keys innings for the Hurricanes came in the second and third. In the second, the Canes responded with a single,an error, and a two-run, two-out double. Miami scored another two in the third with a base hit, balk, and two-run home run, to take a 4-3 lead. Miami’s last two runs would come from solo home runs in the fifth and sixth.
Bobby Poyner started off on the mound for the Gators, pitching four innings with five hits and five runs allowed. Shaun Anderson, Kirby Snead, and Aaron Rhodes also made appearances on the mound for Florida.
O’Sullivan says he needs more out of his starting pitchers.
“We scored three in the first, but we just have to get a better start out of our starting pitcher. The first two runs they scored were two swinging bunts and then we left a changeup up in the zone on a 1-0 count and [UM’s Alex] Hernandez hit it down the left field line and that’s two runs there. All the runs we could have controlled, but it was just one of those nights where Miami did a good job at the plate and we just didn’t make the pitches when we needed to. I thought [UM’s LHP] Chris Diaz was outstanding.”
The Gators only other run would come in the eighth when Gushue scored on an error.
Another opportunity came for the Gators in the seventh inning when they managed to get two on with none out but Richie Martin hit into a double play and Casey Turgeon grounded out to short.
Florida will try to square the series tonight. Live coverage begins at 6:55 on 103.7 The Gator. First pitch is set for 7pm.