GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida used a season-high 18 runs backed by 16 hits and six homers to dismantle South Florida by a score of 18-3 at Condron Family Ballpark on Tuesday night.
With the victory, the Gators improved to 12-2 against in-state teams and 10-1 in midweek contests during the 2022 season.
The offensive effort was led by outfielder Jud Fabian (3-for-4), who connected for a career-high three home runs and eight RBI, using his eighth-career multi-homer game to pass JJ Schwarz for fourth on Florida’s all-time home run list.
The Gators (26-18, 8-13 SEC) and Bulls (23-21, 4-11 AAC) traded runs in the first inning, with South Florida opening the scoring with an RBI groundout by Sonny Rao to plate Carmine Lane.
Florida quickly answered and grabbed a 2-1 lead in the bottom half, as J. Fabian went deep to left field for a two-run home run.
Starting pitcher Nick Pogue settled in after allowing one run in the first, blanking the Bulls in the second while raising his strikeout total to three.
Florida broke the game open in the bottom of the second with a six-run frame. Mac Guscette got the rally going with a solo homer to left field, before J. Fabian connected for a grand slam to left – his second homer of the night. The big fly represented Fabian’s 18th of the season and 50th of his career. BT Riopelle later capped off the big inning with a home run to right to bring the score to 8-1.
South Florida scratched across an unearned run on Pogue the following half inning, as Lane reached on a leadoff single and advanced to second on a throwing error. Lane eventually came around to score on a sacrifice fly to right field off the bat of Nelson Rivera.
The Gators again responded in the bottom of the third, with Langford driving in Guscette on a double to right center and Sterlin Thompson accounting for the 10th Florida run with a sacrifice fly to the right-field warning track, bringing in Kris Armstrong.
Florida put together another six-run inning in the fourth, opening the game with runs in each of the first-four frames. It began with an RBI fielder’s choice by Guscette, followed by a three-run single off the bat of Thompson. J. Fabian then picked up his third home run of the night, sending one out of the park to left for a two-run shot and making it 16-2.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Orange & Blue added a run to their lead as Armstrong led off with a triple into the right-center field gap. Langford quickly drove him in with a sacrifice fly to center.
Right-hander Tyler Nesbitt relieved Pogue in the fifth and fired two scoreless innings on one hit before ceding pitching duties to freshman Karl Hartman in the seventh. The young righty worked around a pair of baserunners to hold the score in check, striking out two in the process.
Upon Hartman’s exit, the Bulls pushed across a run in the eighth on a Nick Gonzalez RBI fielder’s choice, as Joaquin Monque came in to score on the play.
Freshman outfielder Ty Evans provided the final run for the Orange & Blue, homering to left field in the eighth for his second long ball of the year. That brought the score to its final tally of 18-3, as right-handed pitcher Anthony Ursitti pitched a scoreless ninth to close out the game.
Pogue (2-2) earned the victory, pitching four innings with two runs allowed (one earned) on three hits while striking out four.
Bulls starting pitcher Orion Kerkering (4-5) received the loss after lasting just 1 1/3 innings with seven earned runs allowed on six hits and two walks. He struck out two.
Langford (3-for-4), Thompson (2-for-3), J. Fabian (3-for-4) and Riopelle (2-for-4) all picked up multiple hits in the victory.
- Florida scored a season-high 18 runs while tying the team’s season high with six homers.
- Fabian posted his first three-homer game and eighth multi-homer performance of his career, homering in the first before connecting for a grand slam in the second and another two-run shot in the fourth. It marked Fabian’s third multi-homer game of the season.
- Seven of Fabian’s eight multi-homer games have come in back-to-back at bats. Six of the eight have come back-to-back off the same opposing pitcher. Fabian’s second-inning grand slam marked the 50th home run of his career, tying him with JJ Schwarz for fourth on Florida’s all-time home run list for two innings – before passing Schwarz for sole possession of fourth with his third homer in the fourth inning.
- Florida has now received six multi-homer games from players this season – the most in a single season since the 2019 campaign (six). Fabian (three), Riopelle, Langord, Thompson Fabian set career highs with three home runs and eight RBI.
- Florida scored in the first three innings for the first time this season on Tuesday.
- The Gators actually scored in each of the first four frames, combining for 14 runs in those innings.
- Florida is now 63-27 all-time against South Florida.
- The Gators are 43-11 vs. the Bulls at home.
- Florida has won 25 of the last 29 meetings and is 18-4 across the last 22 home matchups.
- Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan is 23-4 vs. South Florida. That includes a 20-3 mark at home.
- Rivera extended his team-leading on-base streak to 18 games. Thompson extended his on-base streak to 14 games.
- Fabian extended his on-base streak to 11 games.
FROM HEAD COACH KEVIN O’SULLIVAN
On his general thoughts on the game… “I think games like this are really good for the locker room… to get someone like Kris in there and give Deric [Fabian] a day to get his legs underneath him… and to get a couple of these other guys in there, it’s good for the locker room. It’s good for team morale. I felt Pogue’s start was about as good as he’s thrown the ball all year long. I thought he got on top of the ball good and had good shape to his breaking balls. He had some really good changeups down in the strike zone. Offensively, we hit six home runs and Jud hit three with eight RBI. It was a career night for him. Overall, it was a good night. It was a good night on the mound. We got some young pitchers out there and obviously offensively we were good.”
On BT and Mac at first base and catcher… “I thought both guys had good plate appearances. Both guys hit home runs tonight. I thought Mac did a really nice job behind the plate. BT, we can move him around… I thought all the guys responded well tonight.”
On the upcoming series at Mississippi State… “They’re all big. I think I’ve said this enough, we put ourselves in a position where we have to win some games. It’s one game at a time. We can’t look ahead. We can’t get too excited after a win or too down after a loss… Its not going to be easy. We have two road series in a row. Its never easy to play on the road in this league, let alone anywhere on the road, period. Playing a game like this tonight, yeah, they should feel good about themselves.“
The Gators travel to Starkville for a three-game series at Mississippi State spanning from Friday, May 6 to Sunday, May 8. Game one and two will air on SEC Network and ESPNU, respectively, while the series finale will stream on SEC Network+.