The Florida Gators were back in the win column Saturday night with a shutout victory over the Marshall Thundering Herd.
Florida’s starting pitcher Jack Leftwich had a great performance as he earned his first win of the season. There wasn’t much offense for the Gators early on the in the ballgame but that all changed in the seventh inning.
The Gators put up five runs in the bottom of the seventh including an opposite field home run from one of their top hitters. The Marshall Thundering Herd didn’t help themselves as they walked thirteen Gators in the game. Two highly touted freshmen also came in relief and did not disappoint in their outings.
It was a quiet first three innings as there wasn’t much offense coming from eitheir side. Florida changed that as they scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.
The inning started with two straight walks drawn by Kirby McMullen and Cory Acton. The next hitter, Kendrick Calilao doubled down the left field line, bringing in both. Calilao would later move to third on a groundout and score on a wild pitch.
The fifth inning was also very kind to the Gators as they added two more runs to the scoreboard, making it 5-0. Jud Fabian led off the inning with a four pitch walk and then scored on a RBI double by McMullen. The bases were loaded for freshman Josh Rivera after Acton and Kris Armstrong both walked in the previous at bats. Rivera worked the count full and was able to draw the RBI walk.
After six strong innings, Jack Leftwich was pulled from the game and was in line for the win. Leftwich threw six innings allowing three hits, no runs, no walks and eight strikeouts.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher David Luethje would come on in relief and throw a perfect seventh inning not allowing a hit, run or walk. He would record one strikeout in his quick appearance.
In the bottom of the seventh, Florida broke the game wide open. It started off with back-to-back walks from Armstrong and Rivera. Junior catcher Cal Greenfield would then single up the middle bringing in Armstrong to make it 6-0. Sophomore outfielder Jacob Young would also hit a single into centerfield to drive in Rivera.
With runners on first and second, Fabian drove an opposite field three-run home run off the scoreboard in right field.
Florida Gators head coach Kevin O’Sullivan shared his thoughts on Fabian’s homer. “To stay on a slider like that and to drive it that way, you don’t see that very often. Very few guys can do that. He’s extremely talented. He had some tough at bats today early on. That just shows you his maturity level, his mental game.”
After the big inning, O’Sullivan sent out his top freshman pitcher in Hunter Barco. The former Perfect Game All-American had a very quick inning as he retired the side on just four pitches.
Another top freshman arm came in the top of the ninth to end the game. Right-handed pitcher Brandon Sproat came in and was impressive, to say the least. In his one inning of work, Sproat was sitting 94-96 mph and topped out at 98. He would walk two batters in his outing but also struck out the side.
The Florida Gators will look to complete the sweep against the Marshall Thundering Herd with a win Sunday afternoon. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Nick Pogue will be on the mound for the Florida Gators. Junior right-handed pitcher Jeffrey Purnell will get the start for the Marshall Thundering Herd. You can watch this game Sunday afternoon at 1 pm ET on the SEC Network+.