Saturday February 15, 2014Maryland Squares Series With No. 20 Florida Baseball, 9-7
Maryland freshman right-hander Mike Shawaryn carried a shutout into the sixth inning in his collegiate debut and the Terps (1-1) held off No. 20 Florida (1-1), 9-7, to even the teams’ weekend series on Saturday at McKethan Stadium. Freshman Brandon Lowe and sophomore Anthony Papio each went 3-for-4, scored three runs and belted solo shots to lead the visitors’ 13-hit offensive attack. Trailing 6-0 in the sixth, the Gators closed to within 8-7 with a three-run eighth-inning outburst.
Sophomore Kevin Martir staked the Terps to a quick lead with a two-run double in the first inning off of freshman right-hander Brett Morales (Tampa, Fla.) (0-1). Junior Charlie White (2-for-4, two RBI) had opened the game with a single through the right side of the infield and Lowe drew a walk before Martir sliced a two-run double down the right-field line.
Junior Andrew Amaro (2-for-4) extended Maryland’s margin to 3-0 in the second frame with an RBI single up the middle after a leadoff double from Papio and a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Jose Cuas.
The Terps added two more runs in the fourth for a 5-0 advantage. Freshman Nick Cieri began the inning with a double to right field and stole third on a walk to Cuas. Freshman A.J. Puk (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) replaced Morales (3.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R) and Cuas swiped second base before the southpaw struck out Amaro. White legged out an infield single that scored Cieri and Lowe followed with a base-knock into left field that brought home Cuas.
Papio connected on his first homer of the season to right center to start the sixth for a six-run cushion. The Gators countered with three runs on two hits and an error in the home part of the inning to pull within 6-3. UF mounted a two-out rally on a walk to junior Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) and a single into left field by junior Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) (2-for-5) that prompted a pitching change, with freshman Tayler Stiles replacing Shawaryn (5.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER). The reliever plunked freshman pinch hitter Peter Alonso (Tampa, Fla.) to load the bases and uncorked a wild pitch that enabled Turgeon to come home. A fielding error at third base on a grounder by junior Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) drove in Gushue and junior Braden Mattson (San Antonio, Texas) came through with a pinch-hit single that trimmed UF’s deficit to three runs. Stiles preserved the lead with a strikeout of junior Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.).
In the seventh, Maryland used a squeeze bunt by senior Blake Schmit for a 7-3 lead. The Terps had consecutive singles off of freshman Kirby Snead (Alachua, Fla.) to begin the inning and Martir sacrificed his teammates over with a bunt against sophomore Aaron Rhodes (Venice, Fla.) before Schmit’s well-placed bunt plated Lowe. For the Gators, freshman Buddy Reed (Finksburg, Md.) drew a leadoff walk in the seventh and scored on a two-out wild pitch from senior Ben Brewster to cut the margin to three runs. However, UMD answered with another run for an 8-4 score in the eighth on a fielder’s choice by White.
Another two-out rally by the Gators in the eighth narrowed the gap to 8-7. After Shafer was hit for the second time in the game, sophomore pinch hitter Jason Lombadozzi (Chambersburg, Pa.) earned a free pass and sophomore closer Kevin Mooney was summoned from the bullpen. Making his collegiate debut, freshman John Sternagel (Rockledge, Fla.) caromed a pinch-hit single off of the pitcher’s glove to load the bases. Reed delivered his first hit at Florida with a two-run single into left field and sophomore Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) brought the hosts within a run by punching a single into right center. Mooney kept the Terps in front with a strikeout of freshman Ryan Larson (Orlando, Fla.). Lowe finalized the 9-7 margin with a leadoff homer in the ninth.
Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan:
“I thought Maryland swung the bats well. They scored in seven out of the nine innings and we couldn’t quite stop them. We obviously didn’t get off to a great start on the mound but they’re young and they’ll learn. The positive that we’ll pull out of tonight is that they battled back. Those experiences will help them down the road.”
On how encouraging it is to see the team battling:
“I was excited that we swung the bats better. We almost went a game and a half in where we didn’t do a lot offensively, but then we got into a groove there and I thought our timing improved and it was good to see us get our swings going.”
On the Gators’ freshmen facing pressure spots:
“I think it will help us down the road. That experience that Ryan (Larson) had there in the eighth (inning) will help him. Dane Dunning getting two outs (in the ninth), that will help him. It was good to get A.J. Puk out there and Brett (Morales) will be better. He got to start today because he’s been throwing the ball really well, he’s obviously better than what he did today. It was probably first start nerves and I expect him to be much better next time.”
Junior catcher Taylor Gushue:
On how Florida reacted to Maryland’s starting pitcher, Mike Shawaryn:
“We came out of the gates slow, and I didn’t think we swung the bat aggressively the first five innings. It is difficult when you don’t come out of the gates and be aggressive, but it’s understandable. We were just trying to get our timing down and trying to see what he was trying to do as a pitcher—trying to get his pitch count up and see what he had. I would attribute our lack of aggression to that and not able to score runs the first five innings.”
On tonight’s game:
“Even though we came out on the losing end, I think it was good because we got a lot of our freshmen in there to get them exposed to the competition level, so that was not a total loss. That was a positive to take out of tonight.”
On first-time freshmen pitchers:
“Experience trumps everything you can tell a person. You can practice as much as you want, but when the rubber meets the road, you’re on that mound, and it’s just you up there trying to get somebody out – that’s the most valuable thing. It was good that we got them in there tonight to get experience. Hopefully, they will be ready further down the road.”
Opening Series by the Numbers:
· Dating back to 2002, the Gators hold an 11-1 (.917) record in opening series at home.
· In Kevin O’Sullivan’s tenure, the Gators have swept Siena (2008), Louisville (2009) and USF (2010 & 2011) and captured two of three from Cal State Fullerton (2012) and Duke (2013).
· The Gators scored seven runs on seven hits and used aggressive base-running to add runs on a pair of wild pitches.
· Junior catcher Taylor Gushue led the Orange and Blue with a pair of base hits. He led off the third with a double and dropped a single between left and center in the sixth.
· After drawing a walk, junior Casey Turgeon scored Florida’s first run on a two-out wild pitch in the sixth.
· Gushue scored from third the following play when freshman pinch hitter Peter Alonso’s hard ground ball was mishandled by UMD’s third baseman.
· On the next play, junior pinch hitter Braden Mattson ripped a base hit to left to plate UF’s third run.
· The Gators got back on the board in the seventh when freshman Buddy Reed scored UF’s fourth run on a wild pitch.
· Reed stepped in with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth and proceeded to drive home two with a single to left.
· Sophomore Richie Martin kept up the two-out eighth inning rally and narrowed the gap to 8-7 with a run-scoring single to right.
· Brett Morales made his first career start for the Gators and surrendered five earned runs and five hits over 3.1 innings.
· Designated hitter A.J. Puk made his first career start. The freshman batted in the seven hole and entered the game in the fourth inning in relief of Morales.
· Puk struck out three and allowed one run in 2.2 innings of work.
· Junior Braden Mattson recorded his first Gator base hit and RBI in the sixth.
· Freshman Kirby Snead allowed two hits in his seventh-inning appearance.
· In his second career start in center, Reed drove home a pair of runs on his first career base hit with a single to left. He also scored on a wild pitch in the seventh inning.
· Freshman John Sternagel entered the game as a pinch hitter in the eighth and his first career hit caromed off of the pitcher’s glove to load the bases for Reed.
· Freshman righty Dane Dunning made his collegiate debut in the ninth inning and recorded a pair of outs.
· With tonight’s victory, Maryland evened the all-time series at two wins apiece.
The Gators and Terrapins will wrap up the series tomorrow at 12 p.m. In a matchup up of right-handers, redshirt junior Karsten Whitson (Chipley, Fla.) will oppose UMD sophomore Jared Price.
Follow the Gators
The entire series is available on GatorVision through GatorZone.com and on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell. Live stats for each game will be available on GatorZone.com and fans can also receive updates of each game on @GatorZoneBB, the official Twitter account of the Gator baseball team.