Whitson Shines as No. 2 Florida Wins

The goal was to get Karsten Whitson on the right track. After the win, Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan felt his team did just that. The sophomore right-hander fired four scoreless innings to start the game, while the Florida bullpen allowed just one run in the final five innings. The offense followed by scoring in seven of eight innings at the plate as No. 2 Florida beat Bethune-Cookman 10-1.

"He looked great," O'Sullivan said after coaching his 300th game at Florida. "He was attacking and had all three pitches going for strikes. It was the first chance we had to extend him. I felt really good about his outing."

Karsten Whitson lasted four innings, giving up four hits and no walks while striking out one hitter. His velocity was in the normal range of 92-94 mph during the first inning of work before fluctuating over the final three innings. It didn't matter where the velocity was, Whitson created weak contact and recorded outs.

Of the 12 outs Whitson recorded, nine of them came on ground balls. A strikeout, line out and caught stealing were the other three outs he recorded.

"He was outstanding," said Florida right fielder Preston Tucker, who went 2-4 with a two-run homer. "It's always great to see him pitch the way he can. His fastball was good, off-speed stuff. It's really exciting that we have him and (Hudson Randall) healthy going into this weekend.

"Hopefully if they pitch the way they did this past week, then I think we have a pretty good shot at winning."

After Whitson came out of the game, four pitchers combined to throw five innings, allowing five hits, one run and striking out one hitter.

The Florida offense got back on the right foot after scoring just three runs against USF on Tuesday. After stranding a runner on third in the first inning and not getting on the scoreboard, the Gators scored in the next seven innings to close out the game.

Though they didn't score more than two runs in any of those innings, the offense manufactured runs and showed Florida getting hits with runners in scoring position, which had been plaguing the team going into Wednesday.

"It's great. I love seeing balls dropping and guys scoring," said Florida second baseman Casey Turgeon, who went 3-4 and scored two runs. "It's how you win games, so I loved it."

The Gators went 12-33 (.363) at the plate as a team and worked six walks. The offense that looked like it had left the team was back in the dugout and reenergized the team.

"Sully kind of talked about that in the meeting earlier today -- that we weren't having real big innings and when we were scoring, we weren't scoring every inning," Tucker said. "Today I think we did a great job. We scored 7 out of 8 times. We were at the plate and manufacturing runs obviously we need to put some more guys in motion we're not swinging the bats well. We did both tonight, so obviously that added up to a good run total."

The Gators hit two home runs on the night. The most impressive was from freshman catcher Brandon Sedell. The rarely used freshman came to Gainesville with a strong reputation as a hitter at American Heritage High School.

Sedell powered a ball well over the left field bleachers and into the parking lot behind the stadium. He's now 2-4 this season with a triple and a home run. He hasn't seen much time with All-American Mike Zunino behind the plate and the emergence of freshman Taylor Gushue, but Sedell's bat has impressed since he stepped on campus.

"Obviously, it's tough playing behind Mike," Tucker said. "You're not going to get a whole lot of playing time. But he knows his role. When he got his shot, he took advantage of it and he put a great swing on it. Hopefully if we need him later in this year, maybe he can do that again. I would not be surprised if he has a terrific year next year."

The Gators now turn their focus to hosting a weekend series against Arkansas, starting at 7 p.m. on Friday.


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