After a brilliant opening weekend for the Florida Gators baseball team, they kept the momentum going into the midweek games, taking on Florida Atlantic University on Tuesday and Bethune-Cookman on Wednesday.
The heralded weekend rotation set a high bar for Freshman Jack Leftwich and Jordan Butler, both making their college career debuts.
Leftwich certainly met those standards – After giving up a single to the first batter he faced, Leftwich retired the next 13 hitters and finished with just two hits allowed over 4.1 innings in his first career start. He struck out five and had one walk. Leftwich earned his first career win after being pulled due to pitch count limit. You can’t be happier with that start if your Leftwich or the Gators.
The Gators ended up with a 6-1 victory over FAU. Junior Wil Dalton had three RBI on the night and now has a team-high 7 RBI on the year. Florida got on the board early with RBI singles from Dalton and Nelson Maldonado and freshman Jack Leftwich silenced the Owls through the first four innings.
Jonathan India made it 3-0 with his second home run of the season, a solo shot into the left field bleachers. Wil Dalton scored from second on an errant throw to make it 4-0.
FAU finally got to Leftwich in the fifth inning after a one-out walk by Gunnar Lambert ended a streak of 13 in a row set down by the UF starter. The Owls scored on a RBI groundout from Diamond Johnson to make it 4-1.
Dalton picked up another pair of RBI in the seventh inning with a two-out single to right field that scored Maldonado and India. Andrew Baker, Tommy Mace and Michael Byrne finished off the Owls on the mound without allowing a run.
Florida’s bullpen shut down the Bethune-Cookman bats for six innings as UF beat the Wildcats 7-4. Bethune-Cookman notched three runs off Florida freshman Jordan Butler but the bullpen limited the visitors to just one run on four hits over the final six innings.
Sophomore Nick Long was the first out of the bullpen and went 2.1 scoreless innings. Freshman Hunter McMullen allowed just one hit over two scoreless innings. Through the first five games, the UF bullpen has allowed just two runs over 17.2 innings of work. Seven different pitchers have yet to allow a run out of the pen, led by Michael Byrne (3.2 IP) and Hunter McMullen (3.0 IP).
Up Next: Florida hits the road for the first time this season, traveling to Miami for a three-game series beginning Friday at 7 p.m. All three games will be available for streaming on WatchESPN.