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UF Baseball: Mace’s Gem, Pair of Big Innings Produce Gators’ Rout of USF

Tommy Mace has not allowed a run in his last 11.1 innings pitched.
Photo by Tim Casey

Courtesy of UF Athletic Association

Florida had a pair of offensive outbursts, and junior starting pitcher Tommy Mace threw a gem Friday night, as the top-ranked Gators routed South Florida, 9-1, at McKethan Stadium at Perry Field. UF moved to 14-0 on the season, and, as of publication, were one of two remaining undefeated Division I teams (unbeaten Alabama was tied, 1-1, with Lipscomb in extra innings).

Mace threw seven innings without allowing a run, yielding just two hits and two walks and logging nine strikeouts. The Tampa, Fla., native has not allowed a run in his last 11.1 innings pitched.

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Florida’s offense gave him plenty of support, with all of it coming in the first and seventh innings. Continuing their knack for driving in runs with two outs this season, all six of the Gators’ runs in the opening frame came with two outs. Two of their three runs in the seventh also came with two outs.

Sophomore outfielder Jud Fabian and senior outfielder Austin Langworthy led off the bottom of the first with walks, and a deep flyout to center moved them into scoring position. Following a strikeout, sophomore outfielder Jacob Young extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a two-RBI single to right field.

After sophomore second baseman Cory Acton drew a four-pitch walk, sophomore first baseman Kendrick Calilao belted a three-run home run over the left field bleachers. Three pitches later, freshman Nathan Hickey hit his second home run in as many games to make it 6-0.

Hickey added another RBI in the seventh with a sacrifice fly, and the final two runs were brought in via a two-out infield single from Kirby McMullen, followed by a four-pitch, bases-loaded walk by junior utility man Jordan Butler.

STANDOUT STAT: 24 – consecutive innings Florida went without allowing a run prior to giving up the ninth-inning homer Friday. The last run UF allowed was a one-out single in the bottom of the second against Florida Atlantic Tuesday night.

Friday night’s home run also ended a scoreless streak of 22.2 innings pitched for Florida’s bullpen.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Calilao, Hickey, and freshman shortstop Josh Rivera. The trio composed the 7-8-9 third of the Gators’ lineup Friday, and they combined to go 8-for-12 with five RBIs and four runs. Rivera also made a handful of standout plays at shortstop, drawing high praise from head coach Kevin O’Sullivan after the game.

FROM COACH KEVIN O’SULLIVAN:

On the win and Mace’s performance… “We got off to a really good start. Led the game off with two walks, Kendrick [Calilao] had the big home run to left field, and Nathan [Hickey] followed up behind him with another home run. Bottom half of the lineup did a really good job tonight. Between Kendrick, Nathan, and Josh [Rivera], our 7-8-9 hitters, we had eight hits between those guys. We got a lot of production at the bottom half of the order. Kirby [McMullen] had a good night offensively with a couple hits. Jordan Butler had a couple more hits. Offensively, we spread it around.

“Tommy was really good tonight on the mound. Thought he was really efficient. It’s the second game in a row where our pace on the mound was outstanding and we pushed the tempo of the game. Hopefully, we can continue to do that. It was a good Friday night.”

On the scoring drought after the first inning… “I talked to the guys at the end of the game … we scored six in the first, which is really good, but we can’t let ourselves get too comfortable. We’ve got to continue to have good at bats. I’m not saying we have to score every inning, but we left a lot of guys on base, did not have very good at bats, and I thought we lost our focus. We cannot do that when we start SEC play. We have to play a nine-inning ballgame. We’ve got to learn from that. We’re playing well right now, but we don’t have this whole thing figured out. We can’t get too relaxed and too comfortable to a point where we think we have all the answers, because right now we don’t. There is an underlying lesson to be learned tonight, even though it looked like the score was a little lopsided.”

UP NEXT

Saturday | 4 p.m. (SECN+)

Sunday | 1 p.m. (SECN+)

Florida

RHP Jack Leftwich (1-0)

LHP Hunter Barco (2-0)

USF

RHP Jack Jasiak (1-1)

RHP Carson Ragsdale (1-0)

SATURDAY PARKING INFORMATION

With the Florida-Kentucky men’s basketball game tipping off at 1 p.m., the flat portion of the O’Connell Center lot will be reserved for pass-holding fans until 1:30 p.m., after which spots will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Garage parking in the O’Connell Center lot is available the entire day until filled.

Fans can park in the UF Law School and Fraternity Row lots on a first-come, first-served basis the entire day as well.

Free shuttle services will be provided from Garage 14 off Gale Lemerand Dr. Drop-off locations will be at Gate 2 of Exactech Arena for basketball, and at the Lemerand Center entrance on Stadium Rd. for baseball. Shuttles will run until 30 minutes after the conclusion of the baseball game.

PROMOTIONS

Saturday, March 7th vs. South Florida

  *   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!
  *   Section Wars – Two sections will compete against each other for the chance to win a prize courtesy of Domino’s.
  *   Military and First Responders – All military members and first responders, active and retired, may purchase half-priced GA tickets.
  *   Seniors – All senior citizens, ages 55 and older, may purchase half-priced general admission tickets while supplies last.

Sunday, March 8th vs. South Florida

  *   Giveaway – Digital wristwatch to the first 500 fans in attendance
  *   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!
  *   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!