Baseball: Gators chomp Owls 13-2

Mark Gibson

FAU (3-1) lost for the first time this season as it fell 13-2 to University of Florida (4-0) on Tuesday night at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, FL.

The Gators got off to a 3-0 head start in the top of the first as right fielder Preston Tucker, designated hitter Brian Johnson, and catcher Mike Zunio drove in runs.

Errors were part of the reason why FAU allowed so many runs as it committed four of them. Two alone came in the first inning as a missed catch at first base and a dropped fly ball allowed runners to reach base.

FAU struggled as starting left-handed pitcher Josh Gonzaga allowed three more runs in the top of the third, giving Florida a 6–0 lead. Gonzaga pitched four innings, allowing six runs and two walks with two strikeouts. Gonzaga’s two walks led to a two-run RBI double by left fielder Daniel Pigott who drove a deep fly ball to center field.

By the sixth inning, with the Owls down 8–0, FAU finally got on the board as center fielder Nathan Pittman, who came in defensively for Colby Gratton, knocked a solo homerun to the right field corner in the bottom of the sixth inning. FAU’s only two runs came off homeruns as the second was hit by designated hitter Eddie Cassidy in the bottom of the seventh.

“I was shocked at the way we came out,” said head coach John McCormack. “That’s a very good team over in that other dugout and we certainly can’t come out here and give them extra outs.”

Following Gratton’s homerun, the Gators scored four more runs in the following inning. The surplus of runs forced the Owls to make three pitching changes as Taylor Everist, Jason Boyer, and Mike Ruccio were inserted into the game. Tucker also continued to hurt the Owls’ bullpen as he knocked in a two run RBI double. Tucker finished the night going 4 for 5 with one run and two RBIs.

FAU was unable to rally from a ten run deficit despite its efforts as Florida hammered one more run off a wild pitch from Dalton Wentz in the top of the ninth.

In the bottom of the inning Auston Maddox came out from his position at first base to close the game as he struck out the last two batters to give Florida the 13-2 victory.

“It was a very difficult night,” said McCormack. “But tomorrow is coming whether we like it or not. But, we’ll be ready.”

FAU will play at home vs. the University of Miami Wednesday, Feb. 23 at 6:30 pm in Boca Raton.