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Freshman Logan Shore, No. 32, talks with coach Kevin O'Sullivan and catcher Taylor Gushue on Thursday.

Friday May 9, 2014Shore Gets Job Done in Big Way against Vanderbilt

Freshman Logan Shore, No. 32, talks with coach Kevin O'Sullivan and catcher Taylor Gushue on Thursday.

Scott Carter
By SCOTT CARTER
GatorZone.com Senior Writer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- They set a school record with their 12th consecutive Southeastern Conference win, breaking a mark that had stood since 1968.

They have a five-game lead over Vanderbilt in the SEC East with only five conference games left, clinching at least a tie for the division crown.

And on Thursday night at McKethan Stadium, the Gators stranded 12 runners and managed only three hits against the Commodores.

Still, they won 1-0.

With freshman starter Logan Shore on the mound, the Gators have discovered they always have a chance. They had nothing to worry about Thursday in the first game of a three-game series with No. 10-ranked Vanderbilt.

It didn't matter that catcher Taylor Gushue's two-out RBI single in the first inning would be the No. 8-ranked Gators' key run of the game.

"I didn't know it was going to be the only one,'' Gushue said.

Shore basically took care of the rest by throwing 7 1/3 shutout innings for his team-leading seventh win. Shore struck out a career-high eight, walked two and allowed only two hits to improve to 7-2.

Shore lowered his SEC-leading ERA to 1.34 before giving way to reliever Bobby Poyner to close out the game. Poyner picked up his fourth save. Shore retired the final six hitters he faced and Poyner set down all five batters he faced.

"I didn't have to move my glove that much,'' Gushue said. "That's always good. It makes for an easy night."

While Florida's win was notable primarily because of the school-record 12th consecutive SEC win, if you have been watching closely, you know Shore has turned in a special freshman season.

A special season, period.

A 6-foot-1, 210-pound right-hander from Coon Rapids, Minn., Shore has not shown any signs of stage fright since arriving at UF. Thursday's outing was his 12th start, and in all 12 of those starts, Shore has pitched into the sixth inning.

He was there again Thursday when he walked Vanderbilt leadoff hitter Dansby Swanson with one out in the sixth. Swanson stepped to the plate right after catcher Jason Delay hit the hardest ball all night that landed in left fielder Buddy Reed's glove on the warning track with his back against the wall.

"I held my breath on that one for a little bit, but Buddy got a good read on it,'' Gushue said. "It was just a fastball we were just trying to get ahead."

After the walk to Swanson, Shore struck out Xavier Turner. With the tying run on second and two outs, O'Sullivan trotted to the mound.

The Gators didn't want to give Bryan Reynolds too good of a pitch with first base open, so Shore made sure not to. Instead, he struck him out to end the inning.

O'Sullivan pulled Shore with one out in the eighth inning and after 101 pitches.

"It's pretty much the same thing every start,'' O'Sullivan said. "I think tonight was a little bit sharper. He was really on point. The fastball to both sides ... he threw some really good breaking balls, too. He did his job."

A mechanical glitch had caused Shore to leave up some of his pitches his past couple of starts. He threw a side session earlier in the week to make the minor adjustments.

He then put them to use Thursday and pitched the Gators a win closer to the SEC regular-season title. Shore's fastball hit the mid-90s early in Thursday's start and his last pitch registered 92 mph.

"I think this has been my best [start] yet,'' Shore said. "My stuff was pretty good."

Yes, yes it was. The dozens of scouts on hand certainly took notice.

"I agree with him'' Gushue said. "He was really good, hitting spots, executing all his pitches. He made big pitches when we needed him to make big pitches.

"To get 12 wins in a row in the SEC, it's amazing. It's hard to win a game, not to mention 12 in a row. Logan has been a big part of that."

 

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