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UF Baseball: Gators Outslug Marshall to Sweep Series

Press release from UF Athletic Association

Florida outslugged Marshall, 15-8, in a Sunday afternoon game that saw the two teams combine to use 15 different pitchers. This is the sixth consecutive year Florida opened its season with a sweep.

The Gators scored in each of the first seven innings and pulled away from the Thundering Herd with a four-run fourth inning and a two-run fifth inning. Seven of Florida’s 15 runs came via home runs, as senior outfielder Austin Langworthy hit a game-tying two-run blast in the first, junior infielder Brady Smith hit the go-ahead solo shot in the third, then smacked a three-run homer in the sixth, and sophomore infielder Cory Acton closed the scoring with an opposite-field solo shot in the seventh.

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Florida trailed 2-0 (after the top of the first) and 5-2 (after the top of the second) but scored nine unanswered runs and seized an 11-5 lead by the end of the fifth.

Langworthy tied for the team high with three hits (more on who matched him below), while Acton, Smith, sophomore outfielder Jud Fabian, and freshman catcher Nathan Hickey all had two hits apiece.

Sophomore Christian Scott earned the win for the Gators, tossing 2.2 innings and allowing zero runs on just two hits. Scott also had three strikeouts.

STANDOUT STAT: .769 – Kirby McMullen’s on-base percentage for the series. McMullen started all three games at third base and reached safely in 10 of his 13 plate appearances, smacking five hits (including three doubles) and drawing five walks. He also reached on an error, and although it does not count toward his OBP, that means McMullen made it onto the base paths 11 times in three games. He also scored five runs and had three runs batted in.

McMullen finished three of four, with a double, two runs, and three RBI in Sunday’s game alone. It marked the first multi-hit game of his career.

Quite a three-game opening stretch for the senior who waited three years for the opportunity to be an everyday contributor.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Brady Smith. Florida’s starting catcher for 53 games last year, Smith started at first base for the first time since 2018, his freshman season. The Niceville, Fla., native entered the afternoon with strikeouts in his only two at bats through the first two games, both of which were reserve appearances, but he got off the schneid in a big way for the Gators.

Smith drove in a run with a fielder’s choice in the second inning, hit a solo home run in the fourth to give the Gators a 6-5 lead they would not relinquish, and capped it off with a three-run homer in the sixth. His final line read: two hits, two runs, and five RBI in five at bats.

Smith’s outing was the first multi-home run game by a Gators hitter since Brady McConnell, a second-round pick in last year’s Major League Baseball Draft, hit two against Tennessee on May 11, 2019.

FROM COACH KEVIN O’SULLIVAN: On the team’s sweep this weekend… “It really was (a good start offensively). Coming in, I thought that was going to be the strength of our team coming into the season – our ability to hit, up and down the lineup. We used three different lineups. Brady Smith had a really good day. He’s hitting nine hole, he had two home runs with five RBI. Austin Langworthy got hot after a tough first night. Kirby (McMullen) continues to hit; he’s been swinging the bat really well. Cory Acton went the other way for a home run today.

“All in all, other than the one mistake there (at shortstop), we played really good defense. Tough day to do that in because of the rain. I thought our team showed a lot of fight and resilience. We fell behind two runs in the first, Austin Langworthy answers back with a two-run homer. We give up a three spot in the second, we answer back, and we scored in every inning, other than the eighth. It was good to get tested early like this, and keep our heads in the game, not get down on ourselves, and we hung with it. We had a great weekend offensively. There wasn’t a lot of at bats we gave away.”

UP NEXT: Florida has a pair of mid-week games against Jacksonville, with the first being a Tuesday road trip, and the second being a Wednesday home outing at McKethan Stadium. Both games are scheduled for 6 p.m. ET starts. Tuesday’s game will stream live on ESPN+ (subscription required), while Wednesday’s game will stream on SEC Network +.

In his postgame media availability, Coach O’Sullivan stated freshman Hunter Barco is in line to start Tuesday. He did not announce a projected starter for Wednesday’s game.