March Madness reached the diamond Friday night as the Florida baseball team defeated the Texas A&M Aggies 5 to 3 in an 11-inning thriller. Florida improved its SEC record to 3-1 on the season. and to 15-7 overall.
After pitching a complete game gem against the Gators in the 2013 SEC tournament, A&M ace Daniel Mengden proved to be vulnerable this time around. The Gators racked up a season high 16 hits in the game, 10 of which were given up by Mengden. The A&M starter was given no decision but allowed three runs in seven innings of work.
The Florida offense had one of their more impressive games of the year, tallying multiple hits from six different batters. Junior Braden Mattson proved to be the hero Friday night in his return to his home state of Texas. Mattson was 1 for 4 on the night; with his lone hit being the go-ahead single with the bases loaded in the 11th inning to give Florida the victory. Justin Shafer added a bunt single to plate a very important insurance run in the inning.
Freshman Logan Shore made the start for Florida, but it was fellow right-hander Ryan Harris who stole the show on the hill. Harris went four innings in relief and allowed no runs while only allowing three men to reach base. AJ Puk only faced one batter after replacing Harris, but it was enough for him to earn his second win of the year.
Florida Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan was pleased with the pitching performance.
“I thought Logan (Shore) pitching on a Friday night and having to make stressful pitches did very well. That’s something to build on for next week. Without Ryan (Harris) tonight, we probably don’t win. He did extremely well in going a career-high four innings. It all starts on the mound and we made a lot of quality pitches with people on base when we had to.”
The Gators now look ahead to Game 2 of this three game series this afternoon at 3:05. Florida will send Eric Hanhold (3-1, 1.93 ERA) to the mound.
Sound from the game can be heard below