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UF Baseball: Bullpen Carries Gators to Win Over FAU, First-Ever 12-0 Start

Christian Scott threw 3.1 scoreless innings, leading Florida’s bullpen to seven scoreless frames Tuesday night.
Photo by Mario Houben

Courtesy of UF Athletic Association

Florida baseball is in its 106th season, and none of the previous 105 campaigns began as this one has, with the Gators winning all of their first 12 games. The No. 1 Gators jumped out to an early lead, and their bullpen, which has been stellar nearly all of this opening stretch, tossed seven scoreless innings to secure a 7-3 victory over Florida Atlantic Tuesday night at FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Fla.

The Gators’ victory takes them to 12-0 on the year, surpassing the 1989 and 2002 Gators, both of whom started 11-0, for the best start to a season in program history.

Florida jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Sophomore outfielder Jud Fabian opened the game with a line-drive single, and senior outfielder Austin Langworthy brought him home with an RBI double, three pitches later. A groundout moved Langworthy to third base, and sophomore designated hitter Kendrick Calilao drove him in with an RBI single to center. A pair of walks loaded the bases for sophomore first baseman Kris Armstrong, who was hit by a pitch and brought the third run across.

FAU tied the game with two runs in the bottom of the first and another in the second, but the Gators responded with two runs of their own in the third.

Three consecutive one-out singles put the Gators back in front, with sophomore second baseman Cory Acton delivering the RBI shot. A double steal moved UF runners to second and third, and Armstrong plated his second run of the night with a groundout to second base.

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Florida scored a pair of insurance runs in the eighth, courtesy of consecutive singles to open the frame, a walk, a fielder’s choice, and a throwing error by FAU’s catcher on a pickoff attempt at third base.

Sophomore David Luethje picked up his second win of the year, as he and classmates Christian Scott and Ben Specht combined for seven scoreless innings of relief pitching. The trio combined for 11 strikeouts and allowed just five hits and a walk.

STANDOUT STAT: 7 – consecutive multi-hit games for sophomore outfielder Jacob Young. The only other Gators since the start of the 2009 season with multiple hits in seven consecutive games were Jonathan India and Bryson Smith. India had two hits in the first seven games (started March 9, 2018 against Rhode Island, ended with a 1-for-3 night against Jacksonville on March 21, 2018) of his 24-game hitting streak, while Smith also had multiple hits in seven consecutive games from May 28, 2011, the second game of a doubleheader against Georgia, through June 12, 2011, when he went 1-for-4 against Mississippi State.

No Gators hitter has recorded multiple hits in eight straight games in statistical records spanning the 2009-20 seasons.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Scott. Florida’s bullpen as a whole continues to be tremendous, but Scott had the starring role Tuesday, tossing 3.1 innings and allowing just two hits, while tying his career high with five strikeouts. Over the last two games, Scott has thrown 6.2 scoreless innings, totaling seven strikeouts and three hits allowed.

After seven more scoreless frames Tuesday night, the bullpen’s earned run average is down to 1.70.

FROM COACH KEVIN O’SULLIVAN:

On the win tonight… “Any time you get to go on the road in the state and give Gators fans a chance around the state that may not have a chance to see us play an awful lot because of the distance, it’s a good thing. We played awfully well tonight. Played great defense. Crowd was outstanding. And what can you say about our bullpen? Just outstanding tonight.”

On the transformation of the bullpen over the last year… “You just kind of sit back and look at the transformation they made from Year One to Year Two, and I’m really proud of all of them. Last year was a little bit difficult for all of them at different times, and they all had success at times last year. But the way they’ve been able to be consistent through the first 12 games has been really good. I’m really pleased with how they’re starting to progress. It’s been a good start.”

On the team’s approach at the plate early in the game, producing a number of opposite-field hits… “In years past, we’ve had trouble with soft-tossing lefties, because we just don’t have a lot of those guys on our staff historically. When we see these guys in February and early March, sometimes it’s the first time we’ve seen pitchers like that, because we haven’t scrimmaged against ourselves with those types of pitchers. But we had a really good approach. I thought their mind was right. FAU has a really quality club, year in and year out. They’re a regional-type club. For us to come out and put three on the board in the first was really big for us.”

On Young’s streak of multi-hit games… “The thing about him, he can hit the ball to the six hole, and with his legs he can beat it out. He’s got the bunt game going. He can do a lot of different things offensively. He’s really valuable for us.”

UP NEXT: Florida returns to McKethan Stadium and faces Florida A&M Wednesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m., with SEC Network+ providing live streaming via the ESPN app.

FLORIDA A&M SERIES HISTORY

  *   Overall – Florida leads, 21-1
  *   In Gainesville – Florida leads, 21-1

PROMOTIONS

Wednesday, March 4th vs. Florida A&M

  *   Final Season Sign – Stop by the final season sign located next to the Gators Sports Shop on the concourse and take a photo!
  *   Foul Ball for Queso – If a fan catches a clean foul ball out of the air with no deflections, everyone in attendance will win free queso!
  *   Gator Booster Night – All Gator Boosters may purchase half-priced reserved bleacher tickets.
  *   UF and Santa Fe Faculty and Staff Night – All UF and Santa Fe faculty and staff may purchase half-priced reserved bleacher tickets.
  *   Military and First Responders – All military members and first responders – active and retired – may purchase half-priced general admission tickets.

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