Florida wins despite sloppy play

Tuesday night was an uncharacteristic performance for the Gators.

Kevin O’Sullivan has always built his team on defense and pitching, but on Tuesday in Jupiter, Fla., Florida committed three errors, walked six hitters and the pitching staff allowed 10 hits. Despite that, the Gators (7-1) still pulled out a 10-8 win over Florida Atlantic.

Only three of the eight runs allowed by the pitching staff were earned, but O’Sullivan still wasn’t happy with the way his team pitched. They worked into deep counts and fell behind early, giving the Owls (6-2) an advantage at the plate. It was a sloppy night for both teams.

“It was one of those nights where both teams were sloppy,” O’Sullivan said on the postgame radio show. “We uncharacteristically made some mistakes on the defensive end and had some pitchers go to the mound that were inconsistent, which was a little surprising because those guys were coming off good outings in the last week or so.

“We’ve got to find consistency on the mound, jump ahead in the count and pitch like we’re capable. Today was one of those nights where we fell behind in the count a lot.”

Walks hurt the Florida pitching staff during the Saturday and Sunday games against Miami, but the Gators were able to split those two and win the series. Each of the six pitchers on the mound Tuesday walked exactly one hitter, and no pitcher threw more than 2.2 innings, done by Shaun Anderson and starting pitcher Brett Morales.

“I think they just got caught up in the excitement of the game and got out of their rhythm. They can hopefully learn from this and handle these types of situation better as we move forward. It’s nothing more than being anxious and not controlling their emotions.”

After scoring eight runs in three games against Miami over the weekend, the Florida offense broke out against a Florida Atlantic pitching staff that shut down the Hurricanes in a midweek game last week. The Gators totaled 13 hits to go with 10 runs and worked five walks.

The top three spots in the Florida lineup -- Dalton Guthrie, Buddy Reed and Richie Martin -- combined to go 9-15 at the plate, driving in four runs and scoring seven. The only other hitter with multiple hitters was catcher J.J. Schwarz, who drove in three runs on the night.

“There were a lot of really good at-bats with two outs,” O’Sullivan said. “We swung the bats really good tonight.”

Playing the game in Jupiter, Fla., it gives fans in the area a chance to see the team play and also brings O’Sullivan back to his hometown. Florida played in Tampa last week and still has games in DeLand, Jacksonville, Orlando and Tallahassee throughout the rest of the year.

“It gives Gator fans from around the state a chance to see us play that might not get the chance to see us very often,” O’Sullivan said.

The Gators return home this weekend for a three-game series against Stony Brook, beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday.

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