The Gators improved to 10-1 behind a career night from outfielder Wil Dalton. He homered in the first, fifth and eighth innings. Dalton is the first Florida player to hit three home runs in a game since JJ Schwarz hit four against Stetson in 2015.
Dalton’s Big Night
After the game, Dalton said tonight was the first time he’s ever sent three balls over the fence in a single game. “The third one was definitely icing on the cake,” Dalton said. “I was very happy with the night, mostly because we won.”
Florida extended its lead to 2-0 in the second when Blake Reese scored after an Austin Langworthy single. Langworthy would later make his way home on a Brady Smith RBI groundout to make the score 3-0.
Stony Brook got on the board in the top of the third when Blake Reese committed a throwing error from second base. The throw was high enough to force Keenan Bell to jump to reel it in. By the time gravity brought Bell back down, the runner was safe and two Seawolves scored cutting the Florida lead to 3-2.
Back-to-back home runs put Stony Brook up 5-3 in the top of the fourth. Dalton’s second home run of the game tied the score at 5-5 in the fifth. He was visibly excited as he rounded first base.
“I’m, at times, known as a fiery guy,” he said. “In that moment everything came out.”
Florida re-took the lead in the sixth when Brady Smith singled home Reese for his second RBI of the game. The Gators added another run via a Nick Horvath bunt single to head into the seventh with a 7-5 advantage.
Horvath picked up his second RBI with a double in the eighth. Reese advanced to third setting the stage for another big opportunity for Dalton. He delivered.
— Ryan McGinn (@Ry_McGinn) March 3, 2018
Shane Shifflett capped the Gators’ half of the eighth with a sacrifice fly putting Florida up 12-5, the eventual final score.
After the game, Dalton’s teammates praised his effort. Blake Reese said it’s awesome to see Dalton having an early-season impact.
Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan described Dalton as a “tough kid” and said he had “a night to remember.”
Brady Singer Battles
Florida starter Brady Singer was resilient over his seven innings of work and picked up his third win of the season. After the game he talked about how it’s nice to have an offense that has his back. “Every time I get in the hole they come back and pick me up,” Singer said. “That’s what I love about them.”
O’Sullivan credited the Stony Brook hitters for their effort and said Singer found his groove during his third time through the order.
Singer’s final line: 7 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
Jonathan India left the game in the fifth inning with a hamstring injury. O’Sullivan says he’s day-to-day. With Brady McConnell already nursing an injury, the Gators’ infield depth could be tested.
Reese finished the game at shortstop and says he’s comfortable playing the position. Deacon Liput is scheduled to return on Wednesday against UCF.
JJ Schwarz: 2-for-5
Nelson Maldonado: 1-for-5
Michael Byrne: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 K
Florida will be back in action against Stony Brook on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m.
FINAL | Florida 12, Stony Brook 5
Player of the Game: Wil Dalton – 4-5, 3 HR, 6 RBI pic.twitter.com/G7jTeZ7IjM
— Gators Baseball (@GatorsBB) March 3, 2018