The Florida Gator baseball team is now 1-2 on the season after the Liberty Flames took a 5-3 win Sunday in Gainesville. The win allows the Flames to win the season opening series.
Gators Pitching Keeps it Close
Freshman lefty Pierce Coppola earned the starting job for Sunday’s game, and he showed early why. He started his Gator career in a positive way. as he would strike out three in his debut inning. He pitched well until the fifth inning. With the Gators leading 3-0 thanks to a Josh Rivera RBI double and a two run homer by catcher BT Riopelle Coppola got the first out of the fifth inning but after that he would give up a double and a home run in back-to-back plate appearances cutting the Gator lead to 3-2. His day would end shortly after.
Coppola’s performance had positives and negatives according to his head coach, Kevin O’Sullivan, but he is confident in his ability.
The Gators used three pitchers for just the next two and two thirds innings and they gave up three runs on five hits. Freshman Philip Abner, who relieved Coppola, got tagged with the loss as he allowed two earned runs in the fifth inning to give Liberty a 4-3 lead over Florida. Later, senior Garrett Milchin relieved and he gave up a solo home run to give the Flames their eventual margin of victory.
Ryan Slater relieved and struck out two in his two innings of work. He got himself into a tough situation in the ninth inning but with the bases loaded freshman third baseman Deric Fabian made a diving effort that would save his pitcher some runs.
Sluggish Performance at the Plate from the Gators
Despite a promising start to the weekend, the Gator bats really cooled off. Gator batters for the second day in a row struggled to get hits. They did cause some damage in the fourth inning by scoring three runs but that was the only inning where Florida scored any runs.
Outside of Rivera and Riopelle, many of the Florida batters just couldn’t get hits as the Gators struck out 11 times on Sunday and had only five hits. Give credit to the Liberty pitchers, they really stifled the Gator batters as they struck out 31 Gator hitters on the weekend. O’Sullivan was not expecting this after seeing his team in preseason and was hoping for more from his more experienced players.
Upcoming week for the Gators
Florida will begin this week traveling to Stetson on Tuesday (2/22). Then on Wednesday (2/23) they will host North Florida. To end the week, they will welcome Georgia State to Gainesville for a weekend series.
That's a wrap.
— Florida Gators Baseball (@GatorsBB) February 20, 2022