The Gators improved to 11-1 behind another solid outing from Saturday starter Jackson Kowar(3-0). The win is Florida’s fourth in a row and second shutout of the week.
Pitching Sets the Pace
Kowar had to battle through control issues throughout the evening. He issued four walks and only 55 percent of his 96 pitches were thrown for strikes. “I was glad I could throw up a couple of zeros…,” he said. “Obviously, I want to throw a lot more strikes than I did today.”
Stony Brook outfielder Chris Hamilton doubled in the top of the third on a popup into shallow left that played wind tricks on Blake Reese. Tonight was his first start at shortstop since last year against Stetson.
Seawolves shortstop Nick Grande did his best to take advantage of the opportunity. He singled to center, but Nick Horvath threw him out at home.
After the contest, Kowar praised the defensive support he received from his teammates.
Stony Brook struggled to capitalize offensively throughout the game. They hit just .125 with runners in scoring position.
Kevin O’Sullivan turned to freshman LHP Jordan Butler in relief in the seventh after Stony Brook loaded the bases with one out. Butler induced a flyout and struck out Grande to escape the jam. In his last two appearances, Butler has given up just two hits and one walk over eight innings.
“Not many freshmen can come in during a situation like that and be successful,” O’Sullivan said. He went on to add that it was good to get Hunter McMullen some work late in the game as well.
McMullen took over for Butler in the ninth and recorded the final two outs.
— Ryan McGinn (@Ry_McGinn) March 3, 2018
Gator Offense is Ablaze
Florida struck first in the bottom of the fourth when Austin Langworthy singled home JJ Schwarz for his first RBI of the season. He went 2-for-4. Blake Reese then scored on a Shane Shifflett groundout to make the Gators lead 2-0.
The Gators added to their lead in the bottom of the sixth. Nick Horvath plated Reese on a sacrifice fly for his ninth RBI of the season. That extended the Gators lead to 3-0.
Florida would tack on a couple more runs in the seventh. Maldonado and Reese both hit solo home runs over the bleachers in left field. Maldonado’s home run was his first of 2018. Reese’s home run was the first of his career.
Kirby McMullen was responsible for the Gators sixth run. He had a pinch-hit double to drive home Brady Smith. Keenan Bell added an RBI single to score McMullen making it 7-0.
Reese capped the inning with his second RBI of the game giving the Gators an 8-0 advantage, the eventual final score. He’s 6-for-9 in the Stony Brook series thus far.
After the game, Reese described his at-bats as relaxed.
JJ Schwarz: 0-for-3, 2 BB
Wil Dalton: 1-for-5
Florida will be back in action with Tyler Dyson on the mound Sunday against Stony Brook at 1 p.m. You can listen to the game on ESPN 98.1 FM & 850 AM WRUF.