The top-ranked Florida Gators (4-1) used four pitchers to shut out the number 19 Central Florida Knights (3-1), 8-0. Gators righty Jonathon Crawford (1-1), who took the loss against Cal State Fullerton Sunday, started five strong innings in his first career start to pick up the win. Crawford didn't allow a hit until into the fifth inning. With a little help from relief pitchers Daniel Gibson, Bobby Poyner, and Ryan Harris (who made his Orange and Blue debut), and Preston Tucker's run saving, diving catch robbing Knights of an extra base hit, UF shutout UCF for the first time since 1977. Florida also avenged Central Florida's season sweep of them last year, beating the Knights for the first time since 2010.
The Gators finally got off to a good start, scoring at least one run in the first three innings. In the first, Daniel Pigott got Florida off to a good start with a solo homer to put the game at 1-0. Mike Zunino also extended his hitting streak to nine with a two out double, but was left stranded on base.
Cody Dent added to the total with his first RBI of the season when he grounded out to score Taylor Gushue. Then Florida took complete control in the third when the Gators scored three runs on two hits, a walk, and a wild pitch. The scoring started with Zunino hitting a grounder to short that was misplayed by Darnell Sweeney to score Pigott. Tucker advanced to third on the play and scored on the Knights pitcher Eric Skoglund's wild pitch. Casey Turgeon put the lead at 5-0 with an RBI single.
The fifth also proved to be fruitful for the Gators when they plated two more. Tucker lead off the inning with a home run to bring his career school record-tying total to 214. Brian Johnson put the lead out of reach with an RBI single to left. Pigott capped the scoring in the seventh with an RBI double.
Overall, UF head coach Kevin O'Sullivan said this was Florida's best overall game so far, despite leaving 13 men on base. On the season, Florida has hit seven home runs, all have been solo shots.
Florida concludes its eight game opening home stand with a three game series against the William and Mary Tribe (2-2). The series starts Friday starting at 7 p.m. The series marks the first time the two teams have met since 1966, when the Gators swept the Tribe in a two game series.