Turgeon Triple Propels No. 1 UF over FSU

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—Casey Turgeon thought the ball was caught. The Florida second baseman drilled a two-out fastball to deep center field in the sixth inning and into the wind. The ball bounced off the glove of a diving James Ramsey in center field, giving the No. 1 Gators their first lead of the game. Florida would tack on two more runs to beat No. 4 Florida State 4-1 and clinch the season series.

"I have no idea what he did," Florida second baseman Casey Turgeon said about Ramsey's attempt in front of 10,751 people at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. "I saw him turn out there (to run for the ball). I saw it hit the ground, and I was like ‘wow.' I was really surprised."

Florida State (21-4) brought in left-hander Brian Busch to face the lefties the Gators were sending to the plate. He got Brian Johnson to pop out. Taylor Gushue worked a two-out walk that moved Mike Zunino, who singled earlier in the inning, to second base.

Florida State then had the matchup it wanted—a veteran left-hander on the mound against a freshman left-handed hitter for the Gators. It was the youngster that prevailed.

Turgeon drilled a fastball down the middle to deep center field. Ramsey originally broke in on the ball, and by the time he caught himself to run backwards after it, the senior outfielder wasn't in time. The ball bounced off the side of his glove.

"He's an outstanding defensive outfielder," Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan said about Ramsey. "It looked like it just kept going and going. We were very fortunate there. Sometimes it's a game of inches. That's what makes this game so interesting and exciting.

"It's so unpredictable. There are so many different things that can happen in a game for you and against you. Luckily for us, it was just a couple of inches out of his reach."

Vickash Ramjit followed with an RBI single to score Turgeon. Ramjit later added an RBI single in the eighth inning to push the score to 4-1.

The momentum from the bottom of the sixth inning was set up by what happened in the top of the sixth. Florida left-hander Daniel Gibson loaded the bases with one out on a single and two walks.

O'Sullivan went to his bullpen and brought in freshman John Magliozzi. The right-hander had only thrown 12.2 innings before Tuesday but regained his confidence last Tuesday in a start and win over Samford.

O'Sullivan trusted his freshman, and it could've have worked out better.

Magliozzi induced a ground ball to third base off the bat of Stephen McGee that turned into a double play. After a few fist pumps and a jog back to the dugout that looked more like a skip, the Florida dugout had more energy than it did in the first five innings combined.

"Everybody got extremely pumped up and it got us going," said Florida left-hander Steven Rodriguez, who threw scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth. "It got everybody's blood flowing. Everybody got a little extra energy."

The situation for Magliozzi (3-0) was even tougher than it looked. His command wasn't sharp in the first few pitches he threw, and the freshman actually fell behind 3-1 in the count. He bounced back with two quick strikes, the second of which was bounced to third.

"It's a game of momentum," O'Sullivan said. "He's competitive. Sometimes it's not the number of pitches you throw—it's the quality of pitches you throw. Those six pitches—it doesn't get much tougher than that.

"You're in Jacksonville playing an instate rival with over 10,000 people here and the bases are loaded. He hadn't been in that environment before. That's about as difficult of a situation as you can be in. I couldn't be more proud of him."

Turgeon capitalized on the energy Magliozzi brought to the dugout with his two-run triple in the bottom half of the inning.

Once the ball landed over Ramsey's head to score the runs, Rodriguez and Austin Maddox broke out in a sprint for the bullpen to get ready. They combined to throw the final three innings, allowing one hit and striking out four hitters.

"Me and (Maddox) were running down there," O'Sullivan said. "Once I saw that ball go over his head, I was like, ‘I've got to head down there." I went down there, threw a few pitches and he said I was coming in. I just composed myself and was ready to come out (to the mound)."

After a shaky weekend at South Carolina, Maddox looked like his early season form in recording his eighth save in 25 games this season while striking out two hitters in the ninth.

"Maddox was sharp tonight again," O'Sullivan said. "I don't want to lose sight of as good as he was. He was sharp, crisp and back to his old self."

The win wasn't just about winning the season series over Florida State. It was about the struggles Florida has experienced against its rival in recent years. The Gators came into the game 1-11 away from Gainesville against the Seminoles. It was also the first win for O'Sullivan over Florida State in Jacksonville in five tries.

"We finally got one," he said with a grin as he opened his press conference. "I'm just really pleased with the way we played tonight."

The players knew the importance, too.

"We had to do anything possible to win," Rodriguez. "We haven't won here in a few years, so it was a big time game for us to come back."

Florida (5-1 SEC) continues its eight-game road trip this weekend with a conference series at Ole Miss (17-7/3-3 SEC). The series opens in Oxford on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Fightin Gators Top Stories