Once the fifth inning hit, the right-hander started to dominate. He allowed just one hit -- an infield single -- over the final five innings of work while helping the Gators to a 6-3 win at Mississippi State in front of a season-high crowd of 9,942 in the series opener.
“I thought it was pretty good the first three innings, but the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth was the best he has looked all year,” Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan said on the postgame radio show. “I thought the fastball came out of his hand good, his breaking ball was sharper and the changeup was down. He has thrown some good games for us, but as far as his crispness, getting after hitters and locating, I’m really pleased with how he looked the second half of the ball game.”
Shore allowed just six hits and no walks while striking out six batters. The only extra-base hit he allowed was a double to John Holland. It came during a three-run inning for Mississippi State, and Holland’s double scored two runs before he was thrown out at third base trying to extend it to a triple. The previous batter, Wes Rea, got the Bulldogs on the board with an RBI single.
That fourth inning was the final time Mississippi State would have a runner get past first base.
“To be honest with four, I can’t wait to get him out there next Friday again and build off this. I really think he needed that,” O’Sullivan said. “There’s a difference between putting up zeroes like he did in the first three innings and putting up zeroes like he did in the fifth through the ninth. The stuff just looked different, his demeanor looked different and his confidence level looked different. He located better. It was just a different Logan. I’m really proud of him.”
Shore was given a four-run cushion before even stepping on the mound.
Florida leadoff man Dalton Guthrie started the game with a single and went to third when Harrison Bader doubled two batters later. Pete Alonso walked on four pitches to load the bases with one out for Josh Tobias, who lined the first pitch into the right-center field gap for a bases clearing triple. After J.J. Schwarz followed with an RBI ground out, the Florida offense was back on track.
“Anytime you can score in the first period, but we scored four,” O’Sullivan said. “It gave us a lot of momentum. Josh’s hit was huge. We laid off pitches down in the zone, got ones up and we did a good job. Someone was going to have to come up with a big hit, and Josh was the one that did it in the first. It settled us down a little bit and set the tone for the rest of the game.”
When the Bulldogs cut the lead to 4-3 after four innings, the Gators answered in the top half of the fifth.
Guthrie again started it with a single and went to second when Richie Martin was hit by a pitch. After Bader reached on a fielder’s choice that got Martin out at second, Alonso’s RBI ground out scored Guthrie. Tobias followed with a double into the left-center field gap to stretch the lead to 6-3.
Florida will go for the series win on Saturday at 3 p.m. The Gators will send sophomore right-hander Dane Dunning (4-1, 3.19) to the mound to face Bulldogs sophomore right-hander Austin Sexton (3-3, 3.52).