Panteliodis, Gators Shut Down Winthrop

Alex Panteliodis needed something positive. After a tough start to his junior season, Wednesday night was exactly what he has been waiting to see. The left-hander fired six scoreless innings as the Florida offense stayed hot to give the No. 1 Gators a 10-0 victory over Winthrop in front of 2,847 at McKethan Stadium.

"Great start by AP," Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "We wanted to get him out there and keep him around 60 pitches to have him available for the weekend. He was really efficient and pitched ahead in the count with a lot of first-pitch strikes."

It was Florida's fifth shutout in 22 games this season after recording only three in 64 games last year.

Panteliodis (2-0) allowed three hits and one walk during his six innings of work. The three hits allowed were all singles, and all three came in separate innings. The sixth inning was the only inning where the Eagles had multiple base runners against Panteliodis, coming on a single and an error by shortstop Nolan Fontana.

The left-hander threw 41 of his 61 pitches for strikes, averaging just over ten pitches an inning to stay efficient and allow him to go deep into the game but still be available this weekend when the Gators (20-2) host South Carolina.

"Sully preaches to get ahead and stay ahead, so that's what I did," Panteliodis said. "

Panteliodis had hip surgery in the offseason soon after the Gators were eliminated from the College World Series. He was held out of fall workouts and only faced live hitters in the spring for a few outings before the season started. The year has been used to get him into form, which isn't ideal, but Panteliodis has come a long way since the start of the season.

"I've improved a lot," Panteliodis said. "I felt a lot better tonight, and everything was working. I was commanding the ball and hitting my spots, making them put the ball in play. I feel like I'm very close to where I was last year."

Matt Campbell, Keenan Kish, Jonathan Crawford and Nick Maronde threw the final three innings to complete the shutout.

The offense used a seven-run sixth inning to put the game out of reach. Preston Tucker had a home run and an RBI double during it, while Jeff Moyer drove in a run with a bases loaded walk. Josh Adams scored two more with a sharp single to right field, and Daniel Pigott later added an RBI single up the middle.

It was a similar feel to Tuesday night when the Gators scored 22 runs. Once the offense was able to open the floodgates, it was tough to stop.

"Our hitters had a tough time adjusting the first time around, but when our bats get hot, hitting has been contagious," Tucker said. "When I put a good swing on it, a few others guys rallied behind me and things worked out from there.

The Florida offense showcased its situational hitting in the first three innings. The leadoff hitter reached in each inning and scored the only run in each frame twice.

After a leadoff single in the second inning by Mike Zunino, he moved to second on a ground out and went to third on a wild pitch. Josh Adams brought him home on a sacrifice fly. Fontana scored in the third inning after Daniel Pigott bunted him to third and Preston Tucker had an RBI groundout.

The situational hitting was an issue during the early part of the season, but that now looks to be a part of the past.

"With these bats, it's always important," Tucker said. "You never know when one run is going to win you a ball game."

The Gators now turn their attention to No. 4 South Carolina. The defending national champions come to Gainesville this weekend for a second straight marquee matchup in conference play. First pitch for Friday and Saturday is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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