Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan made sure his team knew about his frustrations after the game during a lengthy chat in the dugout following the 5-3 win. The Gators (14-2) left 15 hitters on base, including six in the first two innings, and struggled against a Maine pitching staff that doesn’t have the talent of ones Florida will face when Southeastern Conference play begins next weekend.
“It was a frustrating game, but the game can be frustrating,” O’Sullivan said. “Everyone goes through it for whatever reason. We just left a lot of guys on. We had five freshmen in the lineup, and they looked a little tired today. They just didn’t have their legs underneath them, so we’ve got to be careful with them.”
The Gators scored 16 runs on the weekend, but they were left with a feeling after the game that they should’ve scored more. The frustrations built from a lot of missed opportunities on Sunday. Florida also had three situations with a runner on third and less than two outs where it couldn’t take advantage and drive the run it.
After Martin tripled to start the fourth inning, Josh Tobias doubled him in with one out. Tobias later scored on a long sacrifice fly by J.J. Schwarz, pushing the Florida lead to 4-0 after four innings.
“We’re very unsatisfied,” said Florida shortstop Richie Martin, who went 3-4. “We should’ve had at least 10 runs on the board today. We didn’t execute when we needed to with runners on third and less than two outs or runners in scoring position, so we need to get better at that.”
Maine came back in the fifth inning to score one run off Florida starter Dane Dunning, but the sophomore induced a double play ball to escape any further damage. After a leadoff walk in the sixth inning, Dunning was lifted despite having only 67 pitches.
With a left-hander coming to the plate, O’Sullivan wanted lefty Bobby Poyner on the mound. The senior threw three innings but allowed five hits and two runs.
Poyner handed the ball to Florida closer Taylor Lewis, who threw a perfect ninth inning to record his fourth save.
“(Dunning) is trusting his stuff a lot more,” O’Sullivan said. “He’s throwing strikes more often. That double play in the fifth was a big step in his development. He threw quality pitches to get out of the inning. He’s moving in the right direction.
“I wish we could’ve gotten another inning out of him, but we had Poyner on four days rest. We wanted to run him out there and were able to get Taylor back out there.”