Randall Continues to Dominate

Hudson Randall wanted the ball on Friday night. It's not that he had a problem with pitching on Saturdays, but with the groove he has been in all season, he wanted the aura of being the Friday night pitcher for the No. 3 Gators. Randall took advantage of his first chance, tossing a complete came shutout to help Florida (22-5, 5-2 SEC) to a 3-0 win over Tennessee.

"I'm not usually the Friday starter, but hopefully I defined my role tonight," Hudson Randall said. "I wanted to start out on the right foot and get the tone set for the weekend by getting the first (win)."

Randall (5-0) has been impressive all season, but what he did on Friday took it to the next level. He was dominant. The sophomore is currently riding a 30.2-inning streak without allowing an earned run, dating back to the second inning of a March 12 win over Rhode Island. His outing on Friday lowered his ERA from 0.66 to 0.54 in 49.2 innings this year.

He allowed four hits and didn't walk a batter, but that wasn't the story. He threw only 74 pitches in the game, and only 15 of those were out of the strike zone. Tennessee batters swung early and often, but when it didn't work for them in the early innings, the approach didn't change.

In the ninth inning, Randall needed only four pitches to end the game. The aggressive approach hurt the Volunteers early against Randall, and it only made things worse later in the game.

"I thought they would (change) a little bit, but it worked in my favor," Randall said. "I kept doing the same thing over and over, and we kept getting the same result. It worked out for us."

Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan has been an acclaimed pitching coach for most of his career, but he hasn't seen anything like what Randall did on Friday.

"I've never seen it," O'Sullivan said. "I've never witnessed something like that with only 15 balls. He just threw strike after strike after strike. I don't know if you'll ever see another 74-pitch complete game. That's unheard of."

After throwing a complete game in last weekend's win over South Carolina where Randall allowed an unearned run, he combined it with another complete game. It was the first time a Florida pitcher has thrown back-to-back complete games since June 4 and June 10, 2005 when Tommy Boss did it against North Carolina in the NCAA Regionals and Florida State in the Super Regionals.

It was the first complete game shutout by a Florida pitcher since June 6, 2004 when Boss did it against UCLA in the NCAA Regionals.

"At some point there's usually an error, a four-pitch walk or something happens to make you lose focus in a nine-inning game," O'Sullivan said. "He's just solid and consistent. He's on a special run. "

The Gators have struggled on offense recently, and while they didn't have their breakout game on Friday, the group did put ten hits on the board that scored three runs.

Austin Maddox got the scoring started with a two-run blast in the second inning. The ball easily cleared the trees behind the left field bleachers, sailing into the parking lot behind the stadium.

"I had two strikes on me so I was just battling," Maddox said. "It went pretty far. I hit it good, though. I've been scuffling a little bit, but I went to work this week. I'll come out of it."

Teammate Josh Adams, who played with Maddox in high school, wasn't as quick to praise the distance on the home run, saying that he's seen Maddox hit them much further.

"That was alright. It's not that far," joked Adams, who went 3-for-4 to raise his batting average to .360.

Mike Zunino went 1-for-4 at the plate, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games. He also scored on a wild pitch in the eighth inning to give the Gators an insurance run.

The Gators will try to win the series on Saturday at 1 p.m. Florida will start sophomore left-hander Brian Johnson (4-1, 2.86) against Tennessee junior left-hander Steven Gruver (3-2, 2.79).

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