The Florida Gator baseball team stepped onto the field Sunday afternoon fresh off a 4-0 shutout against the FGCU Eagles the previous night but the momentum did not carry over as the Gators lose to Illinois 5-1 on Sunday.
Freshman lefty A.J. Puk took the mound for the Gators Sunday, opposite the Fighting Illini’s junior righty Drasen Johnson. Puk went 3.1 innings in his first collegiate start, allowing two runs on four hits, in addition to recording three strikeouts.
Johnson pitched a gem for Illinois, allowing eight hits but no runs in 6.1 innings. Sophomore lefty Tyler Jay relieved Johnson in the seventh and closed out the game allowing the only run the Gators were able to muster up.
Florida went through seven pitchers in a similar fashion to the first two games of the tournament.
Offensively, freshman Peter Alonso went 3-for-4 on the day, trying to keep the Gators afloat.
“I am just trying to put good swings on the ball and get on base to help my team win,”
In addition to making back-to-back starts at first base, Alonso extended his hitting streak to five games with a single to give Florida its first hit of the game. However, Alonso’s efforts just weren’t enough.
Gator head coach Kevin O’Sullivan voiced his frustrations after the game.
“We’re just in a rut right now. We’re not scoring very many runs and every pitch is so important, it’s taxing on your staff. The bottom line is we’ve got to stay positive, we’ve got to move this thing in the right direction and it’s our job as coaches to get them going,” O’Sullivan said.
“We’ve got to make better adjustments; all they did was slow the ball down all weekend so their runners would get on base. It’s not like we don’t know; our approach is just not changing quickly enough during the course of a game. We just have to stay positive and make some adjustments.”
The Illini scored in only two innings but it was enough.?? They got a two run single from second baseman Reid Cooper in the fourth and they plated three runs in the eighth to put the game out of reach.
Up next for the Gators, they’ll?head to Pensacola to take on Southern Mississippi and on Tuesday before coming back home to face?Connecticut in a three-game series.
For audio on this afternoon’s game, click the links below.
Freshman Infielder Peter Alonso
Florida Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan