Orange & Blue World Series - Day 3

The University of Florida wrapped-up fall baseball as the Orange defeated the Blue 5-1 on the final day of the Orange & Blue World Series. Shortstop Nolan Fontana's two-run triple provided the needed run support for Tommy Toledo and Michael Heller.

Blue right fielder Preston Tucker led off the scoring in the first inning by blasting a solo shot over the center field wall and into the street off starter Tommy Toledo to give the Blue a 1-0 lead. Tucker has been on a tear throughout the fall and it showed in his performance over the past three days. He ripped with two doubles, two singles, and a home run in the OBWS.

With the exception of the pitch to Tucker, which was left a little up in the zone, Toledo pitched very well today. He successfully kept hitters off balance by mixing his breaking ball pitches with a good fastball and he often commanded the inside half of the plate.

Austin Maddox started for the Blue and didn't yield a hit, securing two fly ball outs and a strikeout of Kamm Washington. Maddox has a fastball that probably averages 90 and a nice breaking ball.

Senior Matt Campbell took over for Maddox in the second inning and promptly walked Tyler Thompson on four consecutive pitches. Two batters later, shortstop Nolan Fontana ripped a triple off the center field wall scoring Thompson.

Meanwhile, right hander Justin Poovey took over for the Blue and plunked Mike Zunino with the first pitch. Josh Adams followed by ripping a single into left field on a 1-2 pitch. Poovey then walked Jeff Moyer on four consecutive pitches to load the bases. Thompson and third baseman Zack Powers then followed with back-to-back run scoring singles. The Orange scored four runs in the inning.

They added another run later when Kamm Washington was walked to lead off the inning. Zunino followed with a single to left field and two batters later Washington scored on Moyer's single to right field.

Final thoughts: I was fortunate enough to watch a three-game series played by an extremely talented team. The Florida program is excelling under the direction of head coach Kevin O'Sullivan and his staff.

The Gators have never had as talented and deep a pitching staff. Quality starters, middle relief, and quality (right and left-handed) closers is a rarity in college baseball with just 11.7 scholarships.

Florida also has solid power with smashers Preston Tucker, Austin Maddox, and Ben McMahan. I also thought Josh Adams, Nolan Fontana, Mike Zunino, and Tyler Thompson looked better at the plate than they did last spring.

Florida lost a phenomenal glove in centerfield and speed on the base paths with the graduation of Matt den Dekker. You simply don't replace that. You do hope for adequate Improvements must be made at third base and Maddox looks a little better and will be working individually this winter.

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