Jacksonville Sports Day

Gators Open Baseball Season with 7-1 Win Over Siena

After an opening night celebration of the 2017 National Championship, the Gators picked up where they left off with a 7-1 win in the season opener against Siena.

Both sides were scoreless through the first three innings until a solo shot from Jonathan India gave UF a 1-0 lead.

Siena tied the game with a unearned run in the top of the sixth, but Florida responded with a pair of runs to regain the lead. UF added a pair of runs in both the seventh and eighth for the final margin.

Junior Brady Singer went seven innings in his first start of the season, allowing just two hits while striking out eight and no earned runs

“He was sharp. That was probably one of the more difficult starts he’s ever had to be quite honest with you, said Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan. “His first start of the year, the anticipation, the expectations, everything that goes into it. Remember back last year, Alex went 4.2 against William & Mary, so it’s just a lot of nerves. It takes a little bit for these guys to settle in, but I thought he handled it great.”

Three players made their debut on Friday night and all three contributed. Freshman Brady McConnell had a two-run home run for his first career hit and junior college transfer Wil Dalton’s RBI single gave UF a 2-1 lead in the sixth.

Freshman left-hander Jordan Butler pitched the final two innings without allowing a run and racked up four strikeouts.

“I would expect the offense to settle in a little bit more as the weekend goes on. Credit their starter, once again, he was better than I thought. I remember last year in the Harvard series they had some really, really quality starts and the guys are throwing the ball up there 93-94 and on the reports it’s 86-89,” O’Sullivan said. ” This guy tonight was the same thing, it was 86-89 and all of a sudden in the first inning he was pitching 91-93. I think it’s a valuable lesson for our guys to know that people are going to elevate their game against us.”

At 5,270 Friday’s attendance was the fifth-largest opening night crowd in Florida baseball history.

Florida’s Jackson Kowar will get the ball on Saturday in Game 2 of the opening series against Siena. First pitch is at 4 p.m.

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