In the final tune-up for Jonathon Crawford, he wasn't as sharp as earlier in the offseason. He threw 60 pitches in 4.1 innings before head coach Kevin O'Sullivan took him off the mound after hitting his pitch count. Crawford struggled with his slider command on Saturday, and that's what caused most of his problems.
He gave up four runs in his 4.1 innings while allowing five hits and one walk. Two of his runs allowed were unearned as Richie Martin made an error on a routine ground ball in the fourth inning. Crawford's slider was up in the zone or out of the strike zone throughout the day, allowing multiple extra base hits on the hanging slider, including a double to Cory Reid.
His fastball was 92-93 mph and had the normal sink on it, producing multiple ground balls. Crawford was pitching in front of 10 pro scouts in the stands. It wasn't a great outing, but the most important thing was getting his pitch count up to 60. I'd imagine it would be stretched to around 75 in the first game on Friday.
This was the best I have seen freshman left-hander Parker Danciu throw. The West Boca High School alum doesn't light up the radar gun, but he throws three pitches for strikes. His arm slot allows him to release the ball as if it's coming from second base, making it harder for left-handers to pick up.
He allowed just one run in four innings of work. Danciu used a big curveball to keep hitters off balance. He didn't throw it for a strike too often, unless it was early in the count and he was just trying to get the first strike over the plate. It's a really tough pitch for left-handed hitters to get the barrel of the bat on.
Freshman outfielder Harrison Bader had a good day at the plate. He hit the ball hard off Crawford twice and showcased his speed on the bases. After a line drive single up the middle against Crawford, Bader stole second and then stole third a few pitches later.
Taylor Gushue looked good at the plate on Saturday. He roped an RBI double down the right field line against Crawford and continued to take good swings.
There have been a lot of questions about Raphael Andrades, but he's still a work in progress. The right-handed hitter faced Danciu a few times and the first step with his front foot was always towards third base. Danciu got him off balance with off-speed pitches before throwing a fastball down the middle of the plate to get the third strike looking.
Justin Shafer had another good day at the plate, spraying line drives to both sides of the field. It would help him a lot to be more patient at the plate this year, but he's got a chance to lead the team in batting average.
The Gators will hold a night practice and scrimmage on Sunday to get used to playing under the lights.