Gainesville, FL- The Florida Gators opened the 2019 season with a sweep of Long Beach State. Florida defeated the Dirtbags 8-2 on opening night and then rolled to 5-2 and 3-1 victories to cap the weekend. Sunday’s win represented the 500th Kevin O’Sullivan victory since taking over at Florida.
Final: Florida 8, LBSU 2
The Gators opened the 2019 season with a bang as Florida dropped the Dirtbags 8-2 to open the season 1-0.
Junior OF Wil Dalton opened the scoring with a 2-RBI single. Brady Smith added another 2-RBI single later in the inning as Florida took a 4-0 lead after one at-bat.
Long Beach would get on the board in the fourth inning as the Dirtbags scored on a passed ball and a wild pitch in consecutive at-bats.
Florida added to it’s lead in the seventh. Nelson Maldonado scored after a balk by Basilio Pancheo. Then, with the bases loaded, freshman Jud Fabian sent one to the heavens that was misplayed by Dirtbags LF Calvin Estrada and cleared the bases.
Junior Tyler Dyson struggled with his command and threw only 3.1 innings while walking four hitters. He was also tagged for both runs (one unearned).
W: Jordan Butler (1-0)
L: Adam Seminaris
Final: Florida 5, LBSU 2
The Gators earned the series victory with a 5-2 win on Saturday.
Florida started the scoring with a four run second inning and added a run in the third.
2B Blake Reese opened the scoring with a 2-run double to right that scored Brady Smith and Kendrick Calilao. CF Jud Fabian followed with a double as well, which brought Reese home. Austin Langworthy followed with his first hit of the season, a single up the middle that scored Fabian and gave UF a 4-0 lead.
In the third, Wil Dalton hit a sacrifice fly to right that scored Nelson Maldonado from third.
The Dirtbags would get on the board in the fourth with a pair of runs, but starting pitcher Tommy Mace proved to be too much on this night.
Mace threw seven innings allowing only five hits and struck out seven. Christian Scott and Nolan Crisp pitched a perfect inning in relief each to finish the game.
Crisp earned his first save and was named the closer by O’Sullivan after the game.
W: Mace (1-0)
L: Zak Baayoun (0-1)
S: Crisp (1)
Final: Florida 3, LBSU 1
Florida completed the sweep with a 3-1 victory over Long Beach State on Sunday.
Florida starter Jack Leftwich pitched a good game and the bullpen preserved the lead.
For the first time this season, Florida trailed as LBSU LF Aidan Malm crushed a solo homer in the second inning to give the Dirtbags a 1-0 lead.
The Gators, however added a pair of runs in the second to take the lead back and seize control of the contest.
Jud Fabian worked a two out walk to force in a run, and 3B Roberto Pena followed that up by reaching on an error that allowed Maldonado to score.
In the fourth frame, SS Brady McConnell doubled in C Santino Miozzi to increase the lead to 3-1.
Leftwich threw six innings for the Gators and allowed only five hits while striking out five. Leftwich didn’t allow a walk in the game.
Redshirt freshman Hunter Ruth got his first action as a Gator, pitching two innings while Nolan Crisp closed his second straight game.
NOTE: In the sixth inning, Blake Reese suffered a shoulder injury while diving for a ball. He was taken out for the rest of the game, but O’Sullivan said he should be back in time for next weekend’s series against Miami.
Florida will have a busy week. The team will travel to Tampa to take on USF on Tuesday and will return home Wednesday to face the UNF Ospreys. On Friday, the Gators will open a three game set with rival Miami at McKethan Stadium.