Gators Take Advantage of Quick Lead

No. 1 ranked Florida (4-0) knew there was potential for a challenge Tuesday night against Florida Atlantic, so they took the logical way around it—jump out to an early lead. The Gators took a three-run lead before the Owls even came to the plate and cruised from there to a 13-2 victory at Roger Dean Stadium.

Preston Tucker and Brian Johnson each had an RBI double in the first inning, and Mike Zunino followed with an RBI single to give the Gators a 3-0 lead before the Owls even got to the plate.

Tucker and Johnson, both left-handers took the right approach against FAU left-hander Josh Gonzaga, who started the game. They both hit the ball to the opposite field and drove the ball, instead of trying to pull the ball.

"I loved our approach in the first inning," Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan said on his postgame radio show. "We didn't try to pull (the ball), and they were really good approaches."

Anthony DeSclafani (1-0) got the start on the mound after junior Alex Panteliodis was sick and scratched. DeSclafani went four innings, allowing three hits and striking out three. He picked up the win despite going less than five innings because he was on a pitch count.

The junior struggled last season and was hit hard, but he settled in on Tuesday and threw well. The coaches worked with him in the offseason on lowering his release point, and he is creating more sink on his pitches.

He allowed two hits in the first inning, but he got out of it without any damage.

"He battled through that first inning, but I thought he threw the ball great. We're going to need him. He's greatly improved form a year ago and proud of where he's come from a year ago. He's got a great arm. He did really well for himself tonight."

The Gators used five relievers to throw an inning each to close the game. Jonathon Crawford and Nick Maronde each gave up a solo home run. Crawford's was the first run FAU scored, coming to lead off the sixth inning. That home run broke a 22.2 inning scoreless streak for the Florida pitching staff, dating back to the first inning of Saturday's win over USF.

Tommy Toledo and Austin Maddox threw the final two innings and combined strike out four hitters.

The Florida pitching staff has now struck out 39 batters in 36 innings and allowed only two walks.

Despite the 12 runs, no Florida player drove in more than two. The offense was spread as evenly as possible in such a blowout game.

Tucker went 4-for-5 with two RBIs. Left fielder Daniel Pigott also went 4-for-5 with two RBIs, and he also had two doubles. Both players have started the year on fire, with Tucker hitting .470 (8-17) and Pigott hitting .667 (8-12).

Josh Adams, Brian Johnson and Austin Maddox each added two hits and an RBI.

The Gators return home this weekend for a three-game series with Boston College. The first game will be Thursday night at 5 p.m.


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