Gators Pound Winthrop, 22-5

The Florida offense felt the need to set some season highs on Tuesday. The Gators (19-2) pounded 24 hits and put up 22 runs, while also having the chance to rest players late in the game. It seemed like an exhibition late, but No. 1 Florida cruised to a 22-5 victory over Winthrop at McKethan Stadium.

"It was just one of those nights where we swung the bats really well," Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan. "I really liked our swings- they were short and crisp. We stayed towards the middle of the field and hit a lot of balls hard."

Every starter had a hit by the sixth inning, and seven of the nine starters had multiple hits. Before putting up 24 hits Tuesday, the previous team high was 18. On the night, the Gators had a .533 (24-45) batting average.

The Gators scored multiple runs in six of their eight innings at the plate. The comfortable margin of victory allowed O'Sullivan to mix and match in the lineup. Florida ended the game with only three of the nine starters remaining in the game. Fifteen different players got a plate appearance. The game was so bizarre that right-handed pitcher Tommy Toledo came one batter away from hitting in the eighth inning.

"We've been swinging the bat well," O'Sullivan said. "We swung it really well on Sunday (at LSU), and we've been seeing really good pitching. It all just kind of carried over to tonight."

The differential also let the Gators rest some trusted arms and gain experience for some of the rarely used ones. Justin Poovey threw 1.1 innings, allowing two hits and one earned run. Daniel Gibson also threw an inning of relief, giving up two hits, one run and recording a strikeout.

"Daniel has a great arm. He runs the ball up there 92-93 (mph). He's still learning. If he doesn't walk the leadoff guy there, he doesn't give up a run. Those are the finer things of pitching that the freshmen go through. He's got a good arm, and he's going to be a good one for us."

The game was also about getting work for some of the trusted arms. Steven Rodriguez (1-0) started the game after not seeing the mound at LSU over the weekend. He lasted 3.1 innings, giving up three hits, two runs and recording three strikeouts.

Greg Larson threw a scoreless inning recording three strikeouts after he only pitched 2/3 of an inning at LSU. Tommy Toledo and Anthony DeSclafani both only threw on Friday night against the Tigers, so Tuesday was their scheduled day to get work in preparation for this weekend's series against South Carolina.

Toledo and DeSclafani combined to go two scoreless innings, allowing only one hit.

"We needed to get them ready for the weekend since they didn't throw since Friday," O'Sullivan said.

The Florida scoring happened early and often.

The Gators got on the board in the first inning when an Austin Maddox single to center field went under the glove of Winthrop center fielder Cam Walters and to the fence, allowing Maddox and Nolan Fontana to score on the three-base error.

"We had the oxygen ready for him in the dugout," O'Sullivan joked about Maddox. "He is running better. He's got himself in better shape than last year."

Two grand slams put the game well out of reach, as Fontana connected for one in the sixth inning that hit off the right field scoreboard, and Mike Zunino hit one in the eighth inning that cleared the left field bleachers with ease.

It was the first career grand slam for each player.

"I don't run into those too often," said Fontana, who has only four home runs in his career. "It was fun, though. I enjoyed it."

Fontana went 3-for-5 with six RBIs and two runs scored. He now has a seven-game hitting streak.

Second baseman Josh Adams went 3-for-3, scoring two runs and driving in two. He also hit his third home run of the season and his second in as many games.

Brian Johnson also got on the board with his first home run of the season, clearing the right field wall.

Daniel Pigott, Maddox, Johnson, Zunino, and Kamm Washington also had multiple hits.

Florida and Winthrop conclude their two-game series on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. The Gators will send left-hander Alex Panteliodis (1-0, 6.00) to the mound against a Winthrop pitcher to be announced.

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