Randall Improves Throughout Florida Win

Hudson Randall admitted it wasn't pretty early. He gave up three doubles and one home run in the first three innings against a William & Mary lineup that was hitting .211 coming into the game. The ball was up and even outs were hit hard. As the game wore on, Randall settled in, including a streak of 11 straight hitters retired. The offense chipped in late as No. 1 Florida won 4-1 over the Tribe.

"I felt better as the game went on," Hudson Randall said. "I got a lot of easy outs later on in the game. I was running through it and back to where I felt comfortable. I'm glad I got there."

Randall (1-0) came out of the game after 6.1 innings, allowing five hits, one run and striking out four hitters. The junior right-hander used his slider early in the count at the bottom of the zone to take advantage of the aggressiveness from the Tribe's hitters.

It wasn't a mechanical issue. As is sometimes the case for Randall, he needs to break a sweat and get settled in the game before some of his best stuff comes.

"You've got to shake it off and do what you do best," Randall said. "You can't get out of your comfort zone. Just keep attacking like you know how to, and it'll hopefully turn around for you."

Dating back to last Friday's season opening win over Cal State Fullerton, five of the first seven hits Randall allowed were doubles. He has pitched well with runners in scoring position to keep him from allowing a big inning.

"He started getting the ball down," Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "That's the key for him. When he gets the ball down and at the knees like he usually is, he's getting a lot of quick, easy outs. In the first couple innings, he ran some deep counts. As the game went on, the ball got one shelf lower and he got some quicker outs."

Austin Maddox, who recorded his second save of the season, threw the final 2.2 innings of the game and was dominant for the third outing this year. He has now thrown 8.2 shutout innings on the season and allowed just four base runners while recording nine strikeouts.

"He's a mud dog, and that's what we call him," Florida shortstop Nolan Fontana said. "He's out there to get his and we know that he's going to give it his best every time. He's aggressive. We like playing defense behind him."

The Florida offense sputtered throughout the night, but with its ace on the mound, they didn't need a double-digit output of runs. The best sign for the Gators was a 3-4 output from Fontana, who came into the game 2-17 (.118) at the plate. He had two doubles and a single at the top of the order.

Mike Zunino scored him in the first inning on a sacrifice fly to put Florida on the board.

The Gators would take a 2-1 lead when Tyler Thompson blasted a solo home run to right field in the fifth inning. He came into the game 3-14 (.214) on the season, but hard work throughout the week helped him break out of the slump with a 2-4 night.

"We worked on it all week," Thompson said. "I had a good spring of seeing pitches, laying off the pitcher's pitch and trying to get my pitch. Then, last weekend, I was trying to do too much and not getting my pitch."

The center fielder admitted he was trying to pull everything last weekend and needed to focus on hitting the ball the other way. Once that happened, his bat got quicker on the inside pitches, helping with the solo home run.

Florida added insurance runs in the 8th inning on a throwing error by William & Mary pitcher Ryan Williams after Justin Shafer hit a ground ball back to him. Casey Turgeon followed with a sacrifice fly to score Taylor Gushue, who was 2-3 at the plate with a walk.

Despite the win, O'Sullivan was unhappy with his team's approach at the plate.

"I don't think we made good adjustments at the plate. We need to do a better job of making adjustments and doing it quicker in the game. I thought for nine innings, we didn't do a good job offensively to make adjustments.

"We need to understand that in certain counts, we need to do a better job. It's as simple as that. We'll talk about it tomorrow with our club."

Florida and William & Mary are back in action on Saturday at 4 p.m. Florida will start junior left-hander Brian Johnson (0-0, 0.00) against William & Mary left-hander Matt Wainman (1-0, 1.50).

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