Harris registers solid relief in win

Florida's 6-4 hold on Miami late Saturday night clocked in as a monumental clutch from a slew of angles. The win cut the Gators' six-game winning streak. The defeat snapped the Hurricanes' undefeated season. UF's victory forced the rubber game. But one thing coach Kevin O'Sullivan doesn't want to get lost in the contest emerged from Florida's bullpen in the fifth inning.

Both teams perched on an even, 1-1 score before the fifth unraveled. But Miami's offense came alive immediately at the bat of No. 2-hole hitter Alex Hernandez. The second baseman led off with a single to left-center field and his momentum waved on to right fielder Chantz Mack, who also singled. First baseman David Thompson laid down a bunt to third, but Zack Powers' throwing error to first base put Thompson safe and Hernandez home. With runners on the corners, UF's starting pitcher Tucker Simpson dished out a wild pitch, giving UM another run to put the Hurricanes ahead 3-1.

Simpson struck out third baseman Brad Fieger before O'Sullivan pulled the freshman right-hander for sophomore Ryan Harris.

Harris' previous outing had him pinned with the 7-6 extra-innings loss to North Florida on Tuesday. Against UNF, the UF right-hander entered the matchup in the sixth inning, taking over for freshman Jay Carmichael when the Gators were sitting at a 4-3 deficit with two outs. Though Florida registered the final out after catching the runner stealing second, the top of the seventh inning didn't pan out as smoothly.

On an 0-1 count, Harris allowed a leadoff triple followed by an RBI double. The Ospreys posted a 2-run inning to give UNF a 6-4 lead.

Florida tied the game in the bottom of the ninth, but the top of the 10th served more trouble for the sophomore pitcher. He allowed a leadoff single and after the runner advanced to second off a sacrifice grounder, he balked to put the Ospreys' winning run on third. The next batter pulled a double to centerfield to secure the game for UNF.

By the end of his outing Tuesday, Harris had thrown a career-high 3.2 innings and matched his career-high of three strikeouts; however he was pegged with his first loss of the season.

But the weight from Tuesday didn't pull Harris down when he came out of the bullpen Saturday night.

Harris faced catcher Alex San Juan for his first batter of the night, retiring him at the helm of a groundout to short.

The sophomore retired the first eight batters he faced, downing the Hurricanes in order at the top of the sixth and seventh innings.

"What kind of gets lost in this game is (that) I think Ryan Harris did a really nice job," O'Sullivan said. "He slowed things down."

Harris remained in the game until the eighth inning when sophomore right-hander Johnny Magliozzi entered the 3-2 game. By the end of Harris' outing, the Jupiter, Fla., native had pitched 3.1 innings, allowing one hit and registering two strikeouts in the 12 batters he faced. He threw 38 pitches.

Starting catcher Taylor Gushue commended Harris' role for Florida's bullpen moving forward.

"We're going to need him down the road," Gushue said. "To see him come and compete like he did today was great. It was awesome for him and our team."

Fightin Gators Top Stories