Florida baseball rode two center fielder Jud Fabian home runs to knock off Bethune-Cookman, 3-2, on Tuesday at Florida Ballpark. His two bombs helped him reclaim the team lead with 10 as he finished the game three for five with two long balls and a double.
Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan called on pitcher Nick Pogue to start Tuesday to try and get him going after returning from Tommy John surgery. Sullivan knows if Pogue finds his groove that he could solve the Gators’ search for a third-weekend starter behind Hunter Barco and Brandon Sproat.
However, it didn’t pan out versus the Wildcats. He allowed four walks and a run in the top of the first and was quickly pulled after his final walk loaded the bases.
Reliever Nick Ficarrotta replaced Pogue and shut down the first frame. In the third, he hit the first Bethune-Cookman batter and allowed the next batter to reach via a single. The first base runner went on to score on an error by third baseman Colby Halter to increase their lead to 2-0.
Florida finally got on the scoreboard in fourth when right fielder Ty Evans touched home plate after a sacrifice bunt by catcher Mac Guscette. Fabian evened the score 2-2 in the next inning with a home run, his fifth in his last seven games.
Fabian went long again to nearly the same spot in the seventh to give Florida its first lead of the game, 3-2, for the seventh multi-home run game of his career.
The Gators’ reliever Karl Hartman allowed a full-count lead-off walk to Brian Perez in the top of the ninth, who advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt. Hartman followed by striking out the next batter, but then sailed the second pitch of the next at-bat to allow Perez to scoot to third. He then silenced the Wildcats’ attempt to tie the game with another strikeout and sealed the 3-2 win.
Besides Fabian, Guscette went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Florida’s hitters also recorded 11 hits and three walks, but left 10 runners on base and struck out eight times.
The Gators bullpen also had a strong outing only allowing two runs off one hit. However, they gave up nine free passes with four of them coming from Pogue in the first inning.
The Gators’ next game will be the beginning of a three-game series with the No. 21 LSU Tigers at Florida Ballpark. The first pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. EDT on Friday and can be seen on SEC Network.
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