Friday March 15, 2013Florida Baseball Claims SEC Opener With 4-1 Victory Over No. 10 Kentucky
Florida (9-10/1-0 SEC) snapped a 1-1 tie with a three-run seventh to notch a 4-1 victory over No. 10 Kentucky (14-3/0-1 SEC) in the teams’ Southeastern Conference opener on Friday night at McKethan Stadium. In what was a pitching duel between Gator freshman right-hander Jay Carmichael (Cape Coral, Fla.) and Wildcat sophomore left-hander A.J. Reed, UF scored three unearned runs in the seventh to claim its league debut for the fourth-straight year and the fifth time in head coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s six years at the helm. Sophomore Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) (3-1) threw two scoreless innings to pick up the win, while sophomore Johnny Magliozzi (East Milton, Mass.) kept UK off the board in the ninth to register his fourth save.
“It’s one thing to get your first start, but then you get your first start against a ranked opponent for the first SEC game of the year,” said O’Sullivan. “I thought he [Jay Carmichael] did a really nice job. He pitched into the sixth inning and kind of got himself in trouble when he hit a guy and walked a couple of guys, but other than that, he commanded the ball, pitched with all three of his pitches and did a really nice job. I thought our bullpen came in and did a terrific job: [Bobby] Poyner, [Ryan] Harris and Mags [Johnny Magliozzi] did exactly what they needed to do.”
“I think the great thing about our offense tonight was Josh Tobias having a 2-for-2 night, hitting a home run the other way and staying on the ball. I saw some emotion from him when he was coming around first base and I was awfully pleased and happy for him there. We obviously manufactured some runs in the seventh inning, but it was a great team effort. The pitching was outstanding all night long; any time you hold a team like Kentucky to four hits and one run over nine innings, you’ve got to feel good about that, pitching-wise. The bottom of our order did well – Connor Mitchell had a hit and Tobias had two – so, three of our six hits were from the eight and nine spots. The middle of our order needs to get going a little bit more, but it was just one of those games where it came down to a pitch here or an at-bat there. We played a complete game.”
Sophomore Austin Cousino (2-for-3) led off the game with a base-hit into left field and Carmichael had junior J.T. Riddle ground into a 4-6-3 double play and sophomore Max Kuhn ground out.
Sophomore Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) (2-for-2) provided the Gators with a 1-0 lead with his first career homer with two down in the third inning. Reed (2-2) had retired the first eight UF hitters of the contest before Tobias sent the left-hander’s first offering over the right-field fence.
“I was looking for a good pitch to drive,” Tobias acknowledged. “I just put a good swing on it. It was good to get ahead early and put the pressure on them.”
The Wildcats loaded the bases in the fourth inning, as Riddle was hit by a pitch, Kuhn followed with a walk with one down and junior Paul McConkey earned a two-out walk. Carmichael had redshirt junior Micheal Thomas pop up to sophomore Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) at shortstop to strand the runners.
The Gators mounted a two-out rally in the fifth, thanks to a walk by sophomore Connor Mitchell (Tampa, Fla.) and an infield single by Tobias. Reed kept the score at 1-0 by having Turgeon fly out to right field.
Reed (2-for-4) helped his own cause with a game-tying RBI double in the sixth. Cousino had opened the inning with a single into left field and Carmichael had Riddle pop up to redshirt sophomore Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) for the first out. Cousino moved into scoring position with his team-leading sixth stolen base and Carmichael struck out Kuhn. However, Reed sent a 3-2 pitch to straightaway center field to bring home Cousino on his third two-bagger of the year. After matching his career-high of 5.2 innings, in which he yielded three hits and totaled two strikeouts, Carmichael was replaced by sophomore Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.). The southpaw had McConkey ground out to preserve the stalemate.
"It was something else,” said Carmichael about making his first collegiate start. “It was a great experience. Having these guys behind me really helps, they're very supportive. We needed that [win] badly; and we’re going to run with this and keep fighting.”
In the home part of the frame, freshman Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) led off with his second triple of the season. Reed left him there by having sophomore Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) pop up to first base and then struck out senior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) and sophomore Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.).
After Harris worked a 1-2-3 seventh, the Gators capitalized on three Kentucky errors and plated three runs on two hits to build a 4-1 advantage. A throwing error by McConkey at third base enabled Powers to occupy second base to start the frame. Freshman Brady Roberson (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) then laid down a bunt that McConkey mishandled for runners on the corners with none out. Mitchell beat out an infield single to score Powers with the go-ahead run and moved freshman pinch runner Christian Dicks (Jacksonville, Fla.) to second base. Tobias sacrificed his teammates into scoring position with a bunt and Turgeon delivered an RBI single into right field to plate Dicks for a 3-1 advantage. Reed uncorked a wild pitch that pushed Turgeon to second and a fielder’s choice by Bader resulted in Mitchell being safe at the plate when he beat the throw from junior shortstop Matt Reida. Senior Walter Wijas came in for Reed (6.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 1 ER) and had Shafer fly out to center field before McConkey’s third error of the inning loaded the bases with two down. Wijas jammed Gushue on a pop-up into foul territory to hold the Wildcats’ deficit at three runs.
Magliozzi replaced Harris (2.0 IP, 0 H) prior to the ninth and Reed led off with a single and redshirt sophomore Thomas Bernal followed by being hit by a pitch. The right-hander responded by having the next three hitters, sophomore pinch hitter Jeff Boehm, senior Zac Zellers and Reida, fly out to center field to complete the contest. Florida held a 6-4 advantage in hits.
Rusty Ensor and Tom Werme will be in the booth for tomorrow’s second game of the series for SportsSouth at 12 p.m., with the contest being shown in Gainesville on Sun Sports, Channel 48 or 1048 (HD). Junior right-hander Jonathon Crawford (Okeechobee, Fla.) (0-2, 4.22) will meet UK senior southpaw Jerad Grundy (3-1, 1.35). The contest between the Gators and Wildcats will be available online through GatorVision, while Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell will call the action for the Gator IMG Sports Network. Live audio and stats will be available on GatorZone.com and fans can also follow updates of each game on @GatorZoneBB, the official Twitter account of the Gator baseball program.
· Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan improved to 5-1 in SEC season openers.
· The Gators posted their first Friday-night win of the 2013 season.
· UF improved to 3-2 (.600) against ranked teams this season.
· Florida is now 17-10 at home under O’Sullivan against top-10 programs.
· Freshman Jay Carmichael became the first Gator freshman to start an SEC series opener since Hudson Randall at Alabama in 2010.
· Carmichael tied his career-high of 5.2 innings, striking out two and giving up just three hits against the Wildcats.
· With an infield single in the fifth, sophomore Josh Tobias earned his second hit of the night and notched his second multiple-hit game of 2013, the 10th of his career.
· Sophomore lefty Bobby Poyner made his second relief appearance this season, taking the mound after Carmichael in the sixth and threw two pitches to end the frame.
· Freshman Harrison Bader is the lone Gator with a triple this season, and hit his second to start off the bottom of the sixth.
· Sophomore Ryan Harris made his team-leading 12th relief appearance tonight, following Poyner, and took over the team lead with his third win.
· Sophomore Connor Mitchell collected his second RBI of his sophomore campaign, giving the Gators a 2-1 lead in the seventh.
· Sophomore Casey Turgeon drove in his 15th run of the season, which currently leads the team.