Honeycutt mows ‘em down in Gainesville

Harris Honeycutt's amazing streak continues, as he maintained his perfect record as a college pitcher, running his record to seven wins on the season and 15-0 for his career, as he threw a career-high eleven strikeouts to mow down the Florida Gators 12-2 on Friday night.

Florida announced there would be a fireworks display after the game. They didn't count on the fireworks display during the game by the South Carolina offense. The Gamecocks backed up their ace pitcher with a solid offensive night, led by two homers and five RBIs by Travis Jones. Andrew Crisp also hit a two run homer in the third, and the Gamecocks had sixteen hits and scored in six of nine innings to send Carolina to its 25th win of the season, and more importantly, their sixth SEC victory of the season over the SEC East leading Gators. Florida falls to 19-14 on the season and 7-3 in the SEC.

Eleven was Honeycutt's number for the night - eleven strikeouts, eleven base runners allowed on seven hits, three walks and a hit batter, and eleven Florida baseburners left stranded. Honeycutt gave way to Alex Farotto to start the Florida half of the seventh inning. His eleven strikeouts tied his career high, having also recorded that number against the Citadel in 2006. Honeycutt lowered his season ERA to 1.43 with his six shutout innings.

"Honeycutt was his usual self out there - he gave us a chance to win." Head Coach Ray Tanner said. "He left some runners out there early with two outs, and he was able to pitch himself out of a jam. That was big for us. It's hard to be critical when you see the line score. I've seen him pitch better than that, but he was effective when he needed to be. We got some runs for him early, and when you get Harris some runs, we have to feel pretty good about our chances."

Honeycutt echoed those sentiments after the game, saying, "Florida's a good hitting team. It wasn't my most efficient outing, but it got the job done. It helped having a lot of good run support."

Florida's most respected pitcher, Bryan Augenstein, took the loss for the night, dropping his record on the season to 3-4. Tanner said that "the bullpen" would replace usual Saturday starter Mike Cisco, who stayed home this weekend after struggling of late. Tanner said Will Atwood would probably get the start, but that USC would use a number of pitchers tomorrow, saving freshman pitcher Blake Cooper for his usual Sunday starting spot. Tanner had discussed moving Cooper to Saturday earlier this week.

Speaking of offensive hero of the night, Travis Jones, who has the lowest batting average of the team's starters, but hit two homers Friday night and drove home five runs doing it, Tanner said with a smile, "He runs into some balls. It‘s nice to get some production from the bottom of the order. You can‘t keep relying on those guys at the top of the order to be on base and drive in runs all the time."

An upbeat Jones said of his performance after the game, "It felt good watching those (homeruns) go over the fence. I hit ‘em good, hit ‘em hard."

Florida scored a pair of runs off Gamecock reliever Sean Wideberg in the eighth inning as Jon Townsend and Clayton Pisani each collected two-out RBI singles.

The two teams will play again on Saturday at 4 p.m. Sunday's game at 1 p.m. will be televised by ESPN.

Player of the game: Travis Jones, with two home runs and five RBIs

Key plays of the game: The two two-run homers in the third inning by Jones and Crisp to give the team a strong lead and back up Honeycutt.

NOTES:

- Tanner said after the game that injured pitcher, Jay Brown, is probably headed towards a medical redshirt. Tests on Brown's pitching arm have proven inconclusive when trying to discover the cause of the significant pain he has been experiencing.

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