Florida has been relying on its pitching staff all year to win games and the Florida arms only gave up two runs over the course of the game. Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan will tell you that should be quite enough to win every contest. But Beckwith, along with an umpire that had a quite liberal strike zone (for both teams), kept the Gators from getting any mustard on the ball when they made contact.
Beckwith needed just 98 pitches to strike out seven and scatter seven hits over the nine innings holding the Gators under his 2.02 season ERA.
Obviously their starting pitcher was really good. He didn't misfire. He pretty much hit every spot. He mixed from angle to angle. He was good. He deserved to win tonight.
Coastal Carolina scored single in runs in the third and sixth innings but it could have been worse. The Chanticleers tallied four doubles and two triples in their nine hits in the game. They were hit by pitch twice and walked twice. Those are all gaudy numbers going against this pitching staff, especially most against Shore who lost his first decision of the last 17.
“Their offense was good,” O’Sullivan said. “They got a bunch of extra base hits. We worked ourselves out of a few jams there on the mound. And at the end of the day we scored one run and they scored two. So we've got no choice right now but to come back on Tuesday and be ready to go. (It’s) just that simple.”
Florida got its only run on the night with a pinch hit single from Jeremy Vasquez in the fifth inning after Deacon Liput got on base with a double (his 14th of the season), the Gators only extra base hit of the night. O’Sullivan, looking for a spark on offense saw the chance to put the lefty Vasquez at the plate for Ryan Larson and the hunch paid off.
“I was watching him, how he threw to all the lefties all night just in case I had to come in and face him,” Vasquez said after the game. “I didn't know it would be so soon. But when I came up I had a good idea where he was putting the ball. I got a pitch up and put a good swing on it.
A 1-1 game after five innings, the Gators saw that evaporate in the top of the sixth Shore said after the game that he just ran into a really good hitting team. After a leadoff walk to Connor Owings in the sixth, Zach Remillard would get all of a fastball over the middle of the plate and slam it to the center field wall where Buddy Reed collided hard and Remillard getting to third standing up.
“I thought they were pretty good,” Shore said. “I thought they put good swings on the ball, when the ball was in the zone. I thought my approach going into the game was good. Really it just came down to executing a couple of pitches and I didn't execute them. The fastball that ended up going over Buddy's head was supposed to be inside and I left it over the middle of the plate. They made the play. That's what good teams do, and that's what good hitting teams do.”
Kirby Snead would take over for Shore at that point and last just one batter as he hit G.K. Young. Dane Dunning then came on, got out of the jam. Dunning pitched 2.2 innings giving up three hits and no runs.
A.J. Puk relieved Dunning for one batter but hit his only opponent faced. Finally, closer Shaun Anderson pitched the last 1.1 innings giving up just one hit and no runs.
The Gators pitched pretty well against a hard hitting NCAA home run leading team, but it was Beckwith that stole the show from All-American Shore striking out seven and not walking a single Gator on the night.
“It's one of those things where it's just a different look,” O’Sullivan said. “There's no way to simulate it. There's no one in our league. There's no one that does it. We tried to do the best we could preparing our guys. And the thing about it is he's going to both sides of the plate and you gotta pick one side or the other.”
The strike zone was favorable for the pitchers. That was probably better for the Chanticleers as Shore has been a master of painting the corners and Beckwith didn’t have to.
“He didn't walk anybody,” O’Sullivan said. “I kept waiting for a walk here or there. We had the leadoff man on in the first and second innings. We couldn't do anything. We had the lead-off single by Dalton, and then struck out the next at-bat. And we put a hit-and-run on with Deacon and the ball's hit right to Remillard at third and they turn a double play.
The Gators will play Texas Tech on Tuesday at 5 p.m. ET (ESPN2) in an elimination game.