Orange & Blue World Series- Game One

The opening day of the Orange & Blue World Series kicked off Friday afternoon at McKethan Stadium. Florida head baseball coach Kevin O'Sullivan sent pitchers Anthony DeSclafani, Hudson Randall, Greg Larson, and Nick Maronde to the mound against a maturing Gators offense.

It's not your typical baseball game. Several players demonstrate their versatility playing different positions hopeful of making a positive final impression on the coaching staff before fall ball wraps-up and they look ahead to the spring.

Situational play is the design. O'Sullivan throws base runners into the fray to get a better look at how players will respond in specific situations. There is a lot of small ball played to see which players are most effective moving runners into scoring position, while the staff also gets a glimpse of how solid the defensive play is around the infield. It's an important time of the year with Preston Tucker, Brian Johnson, and Bryson Smith all getting a look in different positions. Furthermore, there are first-year players trying to throw their names in the hat. Two games are played each day with play concluding after three innings.

DeSclafani allowed the Blue squad leadoff runners in the first two innings, but managed to eliminate his problems. He picked off center fielder Bryson Smith who had strayed too far off the bag in the first inning. Smith had reached when DeSclafani threw too far inside on a 3-1 pitch. He finished things off when second baseman Cody Dent popped out to the catcher. Right fielder Preston Tucker then grounded out to short for the final out of the inning.

Sophomore Hudson Randall surrendered a single to leadoff hitter Nolan Fontana for the Orange. Right fielder Paul Wilson and centerfielder Kamm Washington successfully sacrificed Fontana over. Wilson betted once more, but Randall fanned him on a 1-2 pitch.

Austin Maddox ripped a liner into centerfield off DeSclafani to lead off the second for the Blue. Disco struck out catcher Ben McMahan on just three pitches before getting University of Miami transfer Vickash Ramjit to ground into a 5-4-3 double play.

Catcher Mike Zunino doubled with one out in the second with sharply hit ball down the left field line for the Orange. Randall pitched well ahead in the count with his breaking ball and a nice fastball to get out of the inning. He struck out Santa Fe College transfer Jeff Moyer on a 1-2 pitch. Left fielder Tyler Thompson then hit a bouncing ball to second for the final out of the frame.

In the final inning, DeSclafani got two quick outs when Daniel Pigott flew out and Jacob Tillotson struck out on the 3-2 pitch. However, pitcher Keenan Kish singled right up the gut driving home a situational runner at second base.

Randall struggled in the third for the Blue. With a situational runner on second, he threw wide of Maddox at third on Zack Powers ground ball to the mound allowing a run to score. He came back to fan Alex Freedman on three pitches, but threw four consecutive balls to Powers (the Florida coaches wanted to get another look at him at the plate) and also walked Fontana on a 3-1 pitch. He was able to retire Wilson and Washington to finally end the inning.

Game #2

There were times when junior Greg Larson was flat dominating pitching for the Orange. He surrendered a single in the first to Tucker who drilled a single into right field. The ball hit just in front of Paul Wilson, who had a split second to determine if he was going to take a chance on a diving catch in front of him or play the ball off the bounce. He opted to play it off the bounce, but was clearly frustrated with himself after the conclusion of the play.

Ramjit laid down the best bunt of the day down the third base line reaching in the top of the second. Larson then proceeded to dominate, striking out four (Tillotson, Kish, Smith, and Dent) of the next five hitters, before the wheels fell off.

Tucker launched the first pitch to the center field wall where it bounced for a stand-up double. Maddox followed with an opposite field single that drove Tucker home. McMahan then hit a ball of the end of the bat that bounced just left of the mound allowing him to reach safely. Ramjit then grounded out to on a slow bouncer to shortstop.

It was a very good performance for Blue pitcher Nick Maronde. The junior surrendered two hits, while striking out one. The defense secured six fly ball outs for the Blue. Zunino was the leadoff hitter and reached on a ball hit to first base after falling behind on two nice Maronde pitches. Powers led off the second inning and reached on ball to the right side gap that Maddox couldn't come up with at first base.

Game #2 will be held Saturday at 2pm. Freshmen hurlers Karston Whitson, Jonathan Crawford, Daniel Gibson, and Keenan Kish will pitch.


Some of the defensive moves included, Smith in centerfield, Tucker in right field, Maddox at third and first base. Meanwhile, Ramjit worked at both first and third.

It was terrific watching Tucker solidly connect and put the ball into play. He had his share of struggles last season, but looked very sharp today. Zunino also had a nice day at the plate. He played some first base and failed to come-up with a ball on a Greg Larson throw over to hold a runner, but terrific offensively.

It was easy to see why O'Sullivan and staff used pitcher Keenan Kish at the plate. He has a very good approach and laid off a couple of pitches that were close, but just off the plate.

Most impressively with regards to the Game #2 performance of Larson and Maronde was the absence of free passes. They both did a nice job with their command.

Randall threw some wicked breaking balls in the first two innings of his performance. He worked both sides of the plate very effectively before the third.

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