Sophomore right-hander Karsten Whitson pitching:Justin Shafer grounded out to shortstop.
Cody Dent struck out looking.
Preston Tucker fouled out to the catcher.
Junior left-hander Steven Rodriguez pitching:Nolan Fontana grounded out to the pitcher.
Daniel Pigott doubled to left.
Mike Zunino singled to center field; Pigott scored.
Brian Johnson reached on fielder's choice to second, Zunino out at second.
Sean Trent pinch ran for Johnson and got picked off.
Whitson pitching:Taylor Gushue flew out to center field.
Vickash Ramjit flew out to right field.
Jeff Moyer flew out to center field.
Rodriguez pitching:Austin Maddox flew out to left field.
Tyler Thompson popped out to third base.
Josh Tobias singled to right field.
Casey Turgeon struck out swinging.
Whitson pitching:Brandon Sedell walked.
Cory Reid grounded into a double play, shortstop to first base.
Justin Shafer doubled off the left-center field wall.
Cody Dent struck out swinging.
Freshman right-hander Aaron Rhodes pitching:Connor Mitchell grounded out to third base.
Sean Trent struck out swinging.
Nolan Fontana walked.
Daniel Pigott walked.
Mike Zunino grounded out to third base.
Whitson pitching:Preston Tucker homered to right-center field.
Taylor Gushue struck out looking.
Vickash Ramjit struck out looking.
Jeff Moyer struck out swinging.
Rhodes pitching:Brian Johnson struck out swinging.
Austin Maddox hit by a pitch. Connor Mitchell pinch ran.
Tyler Thompson singled to right field, Mitchell to third.
Josh Tobias grounded into a double play, shortstop to second to first.
Whitson pitching:Brandon Sedell flew out to center field.
Cory Reid struck out swinging.
Justin Shafer grounded out to second base.
Freshman left-hander Bobby Poyner pitching:Casey Turgeon grounded out to first.
Connor Mitchell struck out swinging.
Sean Trent struck out swinging.
OBSERVATIONS:Whitson was great on Saturday. This was his final tune up for whenever he starts next weekend, and it was exactly what he needed. This was the best I've seen him throw this offseason. Whitson was able to locate his fastball on both sides of the plate and threw his slider with solid command.
He threw two bad pitches that got hit hard. The first was Tucker's home run, which wasn't a cheap one. Tucker hit it over the bullpen in right-center field on a 2-0 fastball down the middle. The second one was Shafer's double off the wall. Whitson missed his spot with another fastball and it got hammered. This is my daily spot for where I'll point out how good Shafer is.
The most important part of the outing for Whitson is how he closed it. After he gave up the home run to Tucker to start the fourth. He didn't let that get to him as he didn't allow a base runner in his final two innings of work, including striking out four of the last six hitters he faced. If I was a betting man, I would expect to see Whitson get the start on Saturday during the Cal State Fullerton series.
Rodriguez was okay. He got hit hard than normal because he was mostly up and over the heart of the plate. His pitches still had their normal movement and the cutter made some hitters look bad. He got swings and missed, which is an important part for this time of the year.
I don't know what his role for Florida will be this year, but I like Aaron Rhodes. His fastball is 89-91 and his breaking ball is very good. I've heard it referred to as a Frisbee because of the sharp movement on it, and that sounds accurate. It's a real solid pitch. He's mostly a two-pitch guy at this point, so don't expect him to be able to go more than an inning or two until he adds a trusted third pitch. Even without it this year, Rhodes could be a trusted arm out of the bullpen.
Poyner is coming off Tommy John surgery, but he threw well in his inning of work. His role on the staff this year is yet to be determined.
The offense was held down in this game, collecting only six hits. Tucker's home run and Shafer's double were the two hardest hit balls.
Josh Tobias had a great at bat where he stayed on a pitch and lined it into shallow right field. He also grounded into a double play, which is surprising for a guy with his speed, but the ball was hit hard right at second base and it was still a close play at first. That's about the only way he'll hit into a double play this year.
PITCHING LINES:Karsten Whitson: 5 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 R, 6 K. 68 pitches.
Steven Rodriguez: 2 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 1 R, 1 K.
Aaron Rhodes: 2 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 0 R, 2 K.
Bobby Poyner: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 R, 2 K.