Sophomore starting pitcher Alex Faedo (5.2 IP, 4 H, 1ER, 7K) continued a strong Gators weekend on the mound, holding FGCU scoreless until a chaotic 5th that saw him limit the damage to one run by stranding two runners in scoring position.
Florida Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan was glowing following a comprehensive rout in the third game of the series, with particular emphasis placed on Faedo.
“He threw well. He threw some really good changeups later in his outing today,” stated O’Sullivan, who believes his value as the third starter cannot be understated. “His stuff is dynamite. I love his competitive spirit, and I love his pace. To pitch on a Sunday and be a Sunday starter is as good as you’re going to get at this level.”
The Gators began brightly with 4 hits and 4 runs in a very productive 1st inning that saw C Mike Rivera (1-2, 3 RBI) and 2B Deacon Liput (2-2, 2 2B, 4 RBI) contribute with 2 RBIs each in the stanza. The bats then went dormant, recording no hits until a six run 7th inning that saw the Gators put the game out of reach. Dalton Guthrie (3-4, 2B) began an inning where the bases were loaded for almost every batter. Mark Kolozsvary made it 12-3 with a two-run shot in the 8th for the final runs of the game.
The Gators pitching staff showed their class again on Sunday, limiting the Eagles to eight hits and three runs in an impressive showing that also saw them record twelve strikeouts in the culmination of a frustrating weekend for Florida Gulf Coast hitters. Santa Fe transfer Nick Horvath came on in relief of Faedo in the 6th to record the final out of the inning. He was followed by Shaun Anderson and Jackson Kowar in the 7th and 8th, respectfully. RS Sophomore Scott Moss, making his Gators debut following a lengthy injury spell, came on to pitch a perfect 9th inning to complete a dominant weekend from the Florida pitching staff.
The Gators #1 ranked recruiting class continued to contribute early, as Nelson Maldonado joined fellow freshman Jonathan India and Deacon Liput in the starting lineup. Liput continued his torrid pace since his arrival, registering 7 RBIs over the course of the weekend in which the bottom three in the order outperformed the top three batters this weekend. RHP Jackson Kowar, OF Danny Reyes, INF Blake Reese, and INF Eddy Demurias were also given their debuts in game 3.
Gators fans are clearly excited about this team, as a record-smashing 14,507 fans attended the three game series this weekend. Their faith was rewarded with three comfortable, if not dominating wins over the outmatched Eagles. Pitching is normally ahead of hitting at this time of the year and the Gators did enough to support their star-studded staff this weekend that allowed only nine runs over the three game series. The Eagles (or anyone for that matter) are unlikely to see a trio of more talented starting pitchers than they saw this weekend.
The Gators are in action next on Tuesday and Wednesday February 23 and 24 against Eastern Michigan at McKethan Stadium on the University of Florida campus. Both games will start at 7 p.m. and are not broadcast on television or video on the Internet.