After a weekend sweep of UConn, the Florida Gators (11-6) continued their winning ways by defeating Illinois State (9-5) on Wednesday night at McKethan Stadium. The Gators won 13-5 by pounding out 12 hits and scoring seven insurance runs in the eighth inning alone.
The Gators used eight pitchers in the game. Freshman Brett Morales started the game and went 4.1 innings allowing only one run on four hits and striking out five. Sophomore Danny Young came on in relief to earn the win in 1.2 innings of work and not allowing any runs. He leads the team with 11 appearances so far this season. Aaron Rhodes struck out the side in his lone inning on the mound.
Offensively, Florida had eight of its nine starters record a hit. Shortstop Richie Martin, catcher Taylor Gushue, and right fielder Braden Mattson were all 2-4. Junior Casey Turgeon led the team with 4 RBI on the night, all coming from one swing of the bat. He belted a grand slam in the eighth inning. Mattson also had a two-run shot that came earlier in the fifth inning.
Florida never trailed in the game as they grabbed a 3-0 lead in the third inning. Third baseman Josh Tobias led off the inning with a double and advanced to third base on a sacrifice bunt by freshman outfielder Buddy Reed. He would later score on a pass ball. Martin and Turgeon both reached base and scored on a two-out double by Gushue.
Illinois State starter JD Learnard gave up three runs on three hits in 3.0 IP. Junior Matt Lambert also gave up three runs in relief. Reliever Jack Czewzewski took the most punishment as he allowed seven runs, all earned, in only 0.1 innings.
Right fielder Daniel Dwyer was 3-5 and center fielder Sean Beesley was 2-4 to pace the 10-hit night for the Red Birds.
The Florida Gators baseball team will begin conference play this weekend against the Arkansas Razorbacks (8-5). The first game is scheduled for Friday night at 7 PM. They follow that with a 7 PM game on Saturday and a 1 PM matchup to conclude on Sunday. Arkansas has the week off after suffering a double-header defeat to California last Sunday.