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The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Gators move to 4-0 after blowout over Jacksonville

51 days ago
Florida Athletics
Photo: Florida Athletics

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Florida's bats were as hot Tuesday night as they were opening weekend, as the Gators once again slugged their way to victory. By the end of the night, Florida (4-0) had 16 hits in a 13-3 victory over Jacksonville (1-3).

Florida jumped ahead in the third inning with a leadoff double from junior Cal Greenfield, followed by an RBI double from sophomore outfielder Jud Fabian. The Gators built on their lead in the fourth after an error brought in a run, then Fabian smacked an RBI single, and senior outfielder Austin Langworthy drew a bases-loaded walk, making it 4-0.

Jacksonville answered with two runs in the fifth, but the Gators hung seven runs on the board in the sixth, sending 15 batters to the plate.

The massive inning started with three consecutive singles from Josh Rivera, Greenfield, and Fabian. The next three Gators walked, were hit by a pitch, and walked to make it a 7-2 game. Sophomore outfielder Jacob Young drove in a run with a single, then freshman Nathan Hickey walked in another run. After the first out of the inning was made, Rivera plated a pair with a double to deep center.

Freshman Nick Ficarrotta picked up the win, allowing just one hit in two innings of relief for freshman starter Hunter Barco. Junior Justin Alintoff also turned in an impressive relief appearance, throwing a career-high 3.2 innings and doubling his career high for strikeouts with six on the night.

STANDOUT STAT: 47 - Florida's run total through four games. The Gators opened the season with games of nine, 10, 15, and now 13 runs. That is the second-highest run total through four games in head coach Kevin O'Sullivan's 13 seasons at the helm. The only other year with more was 2015, when UF scored 50 runs in its first four games.

The only other years with 40-plus under O'Sullivan? Those came in 2008 and 2018, and the Gators scored 42 runs in their first four games of those seasons.

Florida's run totals are coming from a combination of hitting and plate discipline, with both on display Tuesday night. UF ended the night with a .381 team batting average (16 of 42) and a .500 on-base percentage, thanks to eight walks and two hit by pitches.

Entering the game, the Gators were tied for 26th nationally in team batting average (.327), 19th in on-base percentage (.454), and were tied for ninth in walks (23) among teams who played three games opening weekend. Although a series with No. 1 Miami is looming, Florida is on pace to be one of the nation's most potent offenses.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Josh Rivera. After recording just one hit (a home run) in 10 at bats opening weekend, the freshman shortstop broke out to the tune of three hits in four at bats Tuesday night. Following a strikeout in the second inning, Rivera singled in the fourth and sixth, coming around to score on both occasions. His second at bat in the sixth was a two-RBI double.

FROM COACH KEVIN O'SULLIVAN: On Barco's first start and other pitching performances... "It's his first collegiate start, and it's at home (in Jacksonville). He had a bunch of family and friends here. Thought he handled it well. Wanted to keep his pitch count to about 45. Thought Nick (Ficarrotta) came in and did a really nice job. (Justin) Alintoff came in and did a really nice job. Good to get Hunter Mink out there tonight."

On the offense and fielding tonight... "Swung the bats really well again tonight. Jud (Fabian) had three hits. Josh Rivera saw the ball really well. We only made one error on a slick field tonight. Play by Jud there in center field to double up the runner was pretty special."

On bouncing back with a big inning after Jacksonville cut the lead in half... "Bottom line is we probably got help with some walks. But it's the first road game. We've been up here over the years with some really good teams and haven't played particularly well at times. Early in the year, the way we're swinging the bats and playing defense, getting a lot of contributions from a lot of different pitchers, so far so good."

SERIES UPDATES: Florida improves to 60-33 overall against Jacksonville, and it improves to 23-19 against the Dolphins in Jacksonville. The Gators have won each of the last five games in the series.

UP NEXT: Florida and Jacksonville square off again Wednesday at McKethan Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.