Florida senior Tony Socarras has been friends with Hawaii right-hander
Rich Snider for three years. The friendship ended Saturday when Socarras
belted a grand slam against his former teammate in the first inning to
pace No. 18 Florida to a 10-1 victory over the Hawaii Rainbows in the
middle game of the season-opening series at Rainbow Stadium.
The two players were teammates at Seminole CC in Oklahoma for two seasons
before joining their current squads last season. Socarras, Florida’s
starting catcher, connected on the first offering from Snider in the first
inning after Snider hit a pair of Florida players with a double by Jason
Dill sandwiched in between as the Gators jumped out to a 4-0 lead.
“I played with Snider two seasons and I knew he liked to get ahead in the
count,” said Socarras, who finished with two hits in five at-bats Saturday.
The four-run lead was all the Gator pitching staff would need to hand the
Rainbows a second consecutive loss. Alex Hart and Mike Smalley (1-0)
limited UH to just five hits on the night, resulting in a single run to
help Florida to the victory.
Hart had a career-high seven strikeouts over four innings and Smalley held
the Rainbows scoreless over the final five innings to earn his first win
in a Gator uniform. He allowed three hits and struck out four batters to
secure the win.
“It was a good performance,” said Head Coach Andy Lopez, who returned to
the UF bench after missing Thursday’s game with the flu. “We had every
facet of the game tonight – pitching, hitting and defense. Tony really set
the tone for us early.”
After Socarras’ grand slam in the first inning, Florida added a pair of
runs in the third and fifth innings. Freshman shortstop Pat Osborn knocked
in two runs in the third and UF took advantage of a Rainbow error in the
fifth inning to score two more.
Osborn added another run-scoring single in the fifth and Tim Olson
followed with a RBI, scoring Osborn who had advanced to second following
his single when Socarras was caught between second and third trying to
advance on the play.
Florida’s final run was scored in the eighth inning. Freshman Ryan Raburn
led off the inning with a double, scoring on a single by Kurt Keene one
Snider (0-1) took the loss for Hawaii, allowing eight runs (six earned) on
10 hits over 4.2 innings. Hawaii used five pitchers on the night as UF
continued to post a strong offensive attack with 13 hits on the night.
Florida and Hawaii will play the final game of the series Saturday at
11:35 ET. Junior Craig Mosher will make his first career start as a Gator
against Hawaii freshman Chad Gianetti in the series finale. The game will
be broadcast on WRUF-AM 850 and shown oon the Sunshine Network at midnight