This team is good. I mean really good. Great might be the word. Excellent might be a better fit. The deservedly No. 1 Florida Gators (19-1, 3-0) started SEC play off with a bang as they swept the Vanderbilt Commodores (7-13, 0-3) with a 8-2 win Sunday. Florida has now run it's winning streak to 17 in a row, extending the school record. They have done this mostly without the services of the ninth overall pick in the 2010 MLB draft, Karsten Whitson. The Gators swept a Commodores team they played on the last weekend of the year last year to determine the SEC regular season champion. Granted, this Vandy team is nowhere close to last year's team. The 'Dores came into this series as one of the SEC's worst teams instead of one of the best. I thought their real litmus test would be next weekend versus No. 2 South Carolina, but after 16th ranked Kentucky swept the Gamecocks in Lexington, it looks like the Wildcats may be the Gators toughest competition in the SEC East this season. With half the league ranked in the top 25, the 30 game SEC season will truly be a test for the Gators.
As for Sunday's 8-2 win, Florida's Jonathon Crawford (2-1) threw five shut-out innings to pick up the win in his SEC debut. Vandy's Tyler Beede (0-3) also went five innings, but gave up five runs on five hits. The Gators used their power with solo shots from Taylor Gushue, Preston Tucker, and Casey Turgeon to help Crawford get the win.
Florida struck first in the second inning, when Gushue homered to right field to take a 1-0 advantage. The Gators added three more runs in the third. Nolan Fontana hit an RBI grounder and Daniel Pigott hit a sac fly to stake UF to a 3-0 claim. Then Tucker came out with his solo shot off the scoreboard to put the lead at 4-0. Florida continued the scoring in the fifth, taking a 5-0 lead on Turgeon's home run.
Vanderbilt finally scored in the sixth with an RBI double by Anthony Gomez. But the Gators came back with three more in the eighth to take an 8-1 lead. Mike Zunino contributed with sac fly to score Fontana, Brian Johnson came through with an RBI single and Gushue had his first career sac fly to put Florida at eight runs. The 'Dores scored one in the ninth on a Andrew Harris RBI single to put the game at its final score, 8-2.
Florida completes their ten game homestand Tuesday against the Samford Bulldogs (13-7, 4-2). The game starts at 7 p.m.