Monday April 14, 2014No. 18 Florida Baseball Completes Eight-Game Road Trip Against FGCU Tuesday Night
After taking two of three games at No. 4 South Carolina over the weekend, No. 18 Florida (23-13) travels to Fort Myers on Tuesday to face FGCU (24-13) at Hammond Stadium at 6:30 p.m. The Gators will be wrapping up a season-high eight-game stretch away from McKethan Stadium in which they have gone 4-3 (.571) against ranked opponents.
The game will be available on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo & Adam Schick. Live stats for the game 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 team.
No. 18 Florida (23-13) FGCU (24-13)
Tuesday: TBA TBA
QUICK HITS ABOUT THE GATORS
· The Gators are in first place in the SEC’s Eastern Division and one game up on No. 6 South Carolina (28-7/8-6 SEC). Through five SEC series, UF is tied for second overall in the league, one game behind No. 19 Alabama (24-11/10-5 SEC)
· Florida (23-13/9-6 SEC) claimed three of four outings last week, posting an 8-0 shutout of No. 1 Florida State in Tallahassee before capturing its weekend series at No. 4 South Carolina (1-4, 4-3 (13), 6-5).
· Florida is rated No. 1 in both the RPI and Strength of Schedule compiled by Warren Nolan.
· The Gators are 8-1 (.889) against top-five teams this season and have collected a nation’s best 14 victories against teams in the top 50 of the RPI (14-6 record).
· The Orange and Blue is 10-5 (.667) against top-25 opponents, including an 8-1 (.889) mark against top-five competition this spring.
· After dropping Friday’s opener in Columbia, the Gators rebounded for a pair of one-run wins to take their first road conference set of the year.
· Florida is 10-5 (.667) in one-run games and is 5-2 (.714) in extra innings
· The Gator bullpen went 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA and one save against the Gamecocks, with 12 strikeouts in 16 innings
· Florida left-hander/first baseman A.J. Puk was chosen as the SEC Freshman of the Week after his weekend heroics. In 11 appearances this season, with three starts, Puk is 3-2 with a 3.74 ERA in 21.2 innings, with 27 strikeouts and seven walks.
· Junior catcher Taylor Gushue (.326, 30 RBI) led the squad with a .357 (5-for-14) clip in the series and has tied his career-best hitting streak of 10 games, a stretch in which he is 14-for-42 (.333) with 12 RBI, eight runs and two homers.
· Freshman third baseman/designated hitter Peter Alonso (.270, 13 RBI) and sophomore outfielder Harrison Bader (.254, 12 runs) were each 4-for-13 (.308) over the three games.
· Trailing 4-2 in the eighth inning on Sunday, the Gators rallied for four runs on five hits and an error to seize a 6-4 advantage. Gushue, junior Braden Mattson (.323, 20 RBI) and Puk delivered consecutive one-out singles to load the bases and a fielder’s choice by Alonso and a miscue on the play enabled the visitors to tie the game. Junior Zack Powers (.240, 6 RBI) doubled to left center to give UF the lead and freshman Buddy Reed (.228) followed with an RBI single for a two-run margin.
· Junior Justin Shafer (.205, 9 RBI) delivered a sacrifice fly in the 13th inning and alternated with Puk on the mound to keep USC off of the scoreboard in extra innings, as the Gators evened the series on Saturday, 4-3.
· After 6 innings this year, Florida is 13-1 (.929) when leading, 3-12 (.250) when trailing and 8-0 (1.000) when tied.
· Twenty-one of the Gators’ 36 games this season have been decided by 2 runs or less: UF is 10-5 (.667) in 1-run and 4-2 (.667) in 2-run games.
After the Gators had captured six of the seven previous meetings with FGCU, the Eagles notched a three-game sweep at McKethan Stadium from Feb. 22-24 in the second weekend series of 2013. UF notched a 5-3 victory in Fort Myers last April before the teams split a pair of contests earlier this season (2-1 FGCU on Feb. 27; 4-0 UF on March 1). Kevin O’Sullivan is 8-5 (.615) against the Eagles, 6-5 (.545) in Gainesville and 2-0 (1.000) in Fort Myers.
GATORS’ LAST MEETING WITH THE EAGLES
Redshirt junior right-hander Karsten Whitson and sophomore right-hander Aaron Rhodes combined on a three-hit shutout as the Gators blanked FGCU, 4-0, on March 1. Whitson allowed only a first-inning single over five innings, his longest outing of the season, to earn his first victory since June 10, 2012, in the Gators’ NCAA Super Regional victory over NC State that clinched a berth in the College World Series. Rhodes registered career-highs in innings pitched (4.0) and strikeouts (4) to collect his first career save as UF posted its second shutout of the campaign (4-0 on Feb. 14 versus Maryland). A trio of players, freshman Peter Alonso (2-for-4), junior Josh Tobias (2-for-3) and junior Casey Turgeon (2-for-4), had multiple-hit efforts as part of a 10-hit offensive attack.