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UF Baseball: Gators Combine Walks, Timely Hits, Stud Pitching to Shut Out Marshall

Press release from the University Athletic Association

Florida used 13 walks and a stellar outing from junior starting pitcher Jack Leftwich to shut out Marshall, 10-0, Saturday evening at McKethan Stadium. The win ensures the Gators will emerge with their 13th consecutive season-opening series win.

Florida drew two leadoff walks (and plated both those runners) in its two-run fourth inning, tallied four more (and plated one) in the two-run fifth inning, and had four (and plated a pair) in a five-run seventh inning.

Sophomore Kendrick Calilao drove in the first two runs of the game with a two-run double in the fourth. Senior Kirby McMullen, who has reached base safely in all but one of his eight plate appearances this year, drove in a run with a double in the fifth. Two walks later, freshman Josh Rivera picked up an RBI with his bases-loaded walk, making it a 5-0 Gators lead.

The remainder of Florida’s runs came in the seventh inning, with three coming via an opposite-field home run from sophomore outfielder Jud Fabian. That blast was preceded by consecutive RBI singles from junior catcher Cal Greenfield and sophomore outfielder Jacob Young.

Leftwich threw six scoreless innings and earned the win, allowing just three hits and issuing zero walks. Marshall only managed three hits (all singles) off Leftwich, and two came in the first inning. The Orlando, Fla., native posted eight strikeouts – one shy of his two-time career high – and was relatively efficient with 87 total pitches.

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Sophomore David Luethje and freshmen Hunter Barco and Brandon Sproat all threw an inning apiece to close the game. None of the three allowed a hit, and Sproat fanned three in the ninth as the Gators closed out the victory.

STANDOUT STAT: 13. The Gators drew 13 walks Saturday evening, their highest single-game total since amassing 13 at Tennessee on April 7, 2018. All but two of those walks came in a four-inning stretch (starting with the fourth and ending with the seventh), and five of the 11 who reached via walk in those innings eventually scored. Conversely, Florida’s pitching staff did not allow a walk until the ninth inning.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Cory Acton. This could easily go to Leftwich, but Acton’s stat line fit the theme of the night: walks. Acton drew four of them. The last Gators hitter with four walks in a game? Acton; he drew four against UCF last year on Feb. 27.

FROM COACH KEVIN O’SULLIVAN:

On the team’s patience en route to 13 walks… “We took what we were given at the plate today. Their starter was really good early on. It’s like an SEC-type guy. Threw a ton of strikes. He was 90-94, with a big angle to his fastball, throwing both sides of the plate, really tight slider. But I thought we hung in there. We were tested early on, certainly offensively. But I thought today was a complete team effort. Swung the bats well. Jud’s home run to right center field was extremely impressive. Kendrick (Calilao) had a big RBI double.”

On the pitching staff tonight… “Jack was outstanding on the mound – no walks, eight strikeouts – and they were really aggressive early in the count. That’s an older club, for the most part. Really pleased David (Luethje) came in and threw a clean inning in the seventh. Everybody that stuck around had a chance to see those two special arms (Hunter Barco, Brandon Sproat) at the end that we’re awfully excited about. Ideally, that’s what you’d like to do early in the season, get those young pitchers into game situations that are non-pressure. I thought they both handled it as well as they could have.”

On Fabian’s home run… “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. Stayed in the game. That’s a really impressive at bat.”

UP NEXT: Sophomore pitcher Nick Pogue is scheduled to face Marshall junior Jeffrey Purnell in the final game of the series Sunday, which will begin at 1 p.m., with live streaming from SEC Network +.

PROMOTIONS

Sunday, February 16th vs. Marshall

  *   Community Anthem – Kids 12 and under can stand on the field next to their favorite Gators during the National Anthem! Sign-ups for this are on the third base side in autograph alley, beginning at 12 p.m. Sign-ups end at 12:30 p.m.
  *   Kids Circle The Bases – Kids (12 and under) can circle the bases following the game! Sign-ups for this are on the third base side in autograph alley, beginning in the 8th inning.
  *   Final Season Sign – Stop by the final season sign located next to the Gators Sports Shop on the concourse and take a photo!
  *   Kid’s Korner – Come check out the newest additions to Kid’s Korner, located on the first base side of the concourse. Kids (12 and under) have a chance to walk away with a prize.
  *   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!
  *   Dollar Sundays – Fans may purchase general admission tickets for only $1!

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