Jacksonville Sports Day

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Gators Lose Marathon Midweek Game to UCF

Photo Courtesy of UCF Athletics

The Florida  Gators fell 12-9 to UCF in a back-and-forth game that lasted over four hours long on Wednesday night at McKethan Stadium.

“We played three really good consecutive games in a row on Saturday and Sunday, and then obviously last night up in JU. The bottom line is we got exposed on the mound with a lot of our young pitchers. A lot had to do with [UCF’s] older, experienced, physical lineup and we’ve got to do a better job holding the runners and that type of thing. It’s just one of those nights, but we’ll learn from it and get better from it. We’ve had a lot of bright spots with a lot these freshmen—it just kind of—everything bottled up in one game,” said UF coach Kevin O’Sullivan.

Florida got on the scoreboard first with a two-run triple by Kendrick Calilao that plated Brady McConnell and Jacob Young in the opening inning. A batter later, a ground out by Nelson Maldonado brought Calilao home to give the Gators a 3-0 lead.

The Knights responded in the second with a RBI single by Dalton Wingo and back-to-back runs by Chandler Robertson and Ray Alejo in the third inning, evening things up 3-3.

“I think one of the bright spots, to be honest with you is Jacob Young (2-for-6) … he had a really good at-bat at the end of the game there against their closer. And then, obviously Kirby McMullen with the grand slam was a bright spot, and I thought Kris Armstrong came in and did a nice job at the end there—obviously we gave them those two runs when we went to the bullpen with Jordan [Butler], but I don’t think it was Jordan’s fault. It’s just a couple of mistakes we made behind the plate,” added O’Sullivan.

UCF then took a 4-3 lead early in the fourth thanks to an unearned run by Brandon Hernandez. Later in the fifth, a double-RBI single by UCF’s Matthew Mika and an unearned run by Wingo expanded the Knights lead 6-3.

Florida entered the fifth inning looking to steal momentum back. A sac fly to left field by Jud Fabian brought in Austin Langworthy. With the bases loaded, pinch hitter Kirby McMullen connected on a grand slam, the first home run of his career, to give Florida an 8-7 lead.

The lead didn’t last long however, as UCF tied the game on a RBI single by Osik in the sixth. A home run by Hernandez in the seventh allowed the Knights to retake the lead 9-8. With three more runs in the ninth UCF secured the 12-9 victory over the Gators.

This weekend, Florida will host the Winthrop Eagles in a three-game series at McKethan Stadium. First pitch is at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday. The series finale begins at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

NOTES: Kirby McMullen – A junior from Ocala, McMullen recorded his first career home run with a pinch-hit grand slam that gave Florida an 8-7 lead in the fifth inning. With McMullen’s grand slam, and a run by Austin Langworthy, Florida recorded five runs in the fifth, the most in one inning this season. Freshman Cory Acton has reached base nine plate appearances in a row going back to Tuesday night’s game at Jacksonville. In that span he has three singles and six walks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *