Mike Zunino and Tyler Thompson both accounted for five RBI as No. 1 Florida (11-1) pounded the Florida Atlantic Owls (8-5), 16-1. The Gators reached season highs for both runs (16) and hits (16), all nine UF starters contributed a hit, Zunino extended his hitting streak to 15 games going back to last season, and Florida scored in six of eight innings they were at bat on the night.
But it wasn't just the Florida offense that was on fire. Freshman southpaw Bobby Poyner (1-0), on a predetermined pitch count, threw over four innings, giving up one unearned run on three hits and striking out three. The Florida bullpen of Keenan Kish, Ryan Harris, and Corey Stump combined for five innings of shutout baseball. Florida Atlantic's Jake Meiers (1-2) lasted only two innings, giving up nine runs, eight earned and eight hits. Florida's 11-1 start is its best start since 2003.
The Gators started out with a bang, scoring three runs on three hits in the first. Preston Tucker started the scoring with an RBI single to give Florida a lead they would never give back. Zunino crushed a ball over the left field fence to put the score at 3-0. FAU countered back in the second inning with an RBI double by Ricky Santiago to give the Florida Atlantic their only run of the game.
The bottom of the second is where Florida really put the game away. The Gators scored six runs to take control of the game. The scoring in the second started with Thompson's RBI single to the left field wall which scored Casey Turgeon. Daniel Pigott legged out an infield single which scored Josh Tobias. Tucker's fielder's choice scored Thompson and a throwing error by Owls' first baseman Mark Nelson brought Pigott home. Then Zunino stepped to the plate and blasted his second homer in as many innings, a two-run shot.
Florida continued the onslaught in the third with Thompson hitting a two-run bomb to put the Gators into double digits 11-1. In the fourth, Florida added three more. Brian Johnson got in on the action with an RBI double and RBI single by Turgeon put the Gators at 13-1. Thompson added an RBI groundout to put UF up by 13 runs.
Thompson added another RBI, contributing a sac fly in the sixth. Justin Shafer finished the scoring with an RBI double to put the final score at 16-1.
The Gators used 19 players in this game, showing the depth they have at nearly every position. All three pitchers Florida used in relief were making their first appearances on the season and the Gators played a lot of freshman position players, most of whom contributed.
This game could have been a letdown game for UF after sweeping Miami in Coral Gables, but head coach Kevin O'Sullivan and Florida put together arguably their best game of the season.
The real letdown game could be tonight when Florida hosts the Florida A&M Rattlers (1-11) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. No pitchers have been announced yet.