You'll note that the scoreboard is about as bright as the outfield lights, which is insane. (Andy Hutchins/Alligator Army)
If there was going to be a letdown game for the top-ranked Florida Gators (12-1) this week, it would have been Wednesday's game against the Florida A&M Rattlers (1-12). Instead, the Gators thrashed the Rattlers 15-2.
Freshman Justin Shafer led the Gators with a double and three sac flies for a career-high six RBI, and also got three strikeouts to close out the game in the top of the ninth.
UF's offense put up over 15 runs for the second straight game and has posted double-digit hits in all 13 games this season. On this night, the Gators did it playing small ball: Florida had only two extra-base hits in its onslaught. The only downside on the night was Mike Zunino's hitting streak ending at 15 games after an 0-for-2 performance.
The Gators used their depth in the game, trotting out 19 players, including seven freshman. Florida used five pitchers to hold Florida A&M to two runs, while striking out nine. Greg Larson (2-0) picked up the win, throwing three innings of shutout ball while striking out four after Johnny Magliozzi started the game and lasted three innings, giving up two runs on six hits with one strikeout. Daniel Gibson, Ryan Harris, and Shafer all contributed one inning of work. Florida A&M's David Duncan (1-3) picked up the loss for the Rattlers, allowing five runs on three hits and four walks in over three innings of work.
The Rattlers actually started out the scoring, taking a first inning lead off of an Aaron Smith RBI double. The Gators came back in the home half of the frame, scoring one run on a Shafer sac fly the scored Nolan Fontana.
Daniel Lee put FAMU back on top in the second frame with another RBI double, but once again, UF answered with another Shafer sacrifice fly to tie the game, and then took their first lead of the game on a Preston Tucker grounder which scored Cody Dent.
Florida never looked back from there. Two-time SEC Freshman of the Week Taylor Gushue came through with an RBI double in the fourth and Josh Tobias hit into a double play that scored Gushue to put the Gators up 5-2. In the fifth, Tucker hit an RBI double and Brian Johnson hit an RBI single to extend the margin to 7-2.
The sixth inning is when the Gators really put the game away. Florida scored four runs to put their score into double digits, 11-2. Fontana hit a single up the middle to collect two RBI and Shafer's third sac fly of the night scored two more Gators to bring his RBI total for the night to four.
Four more runs crossed the plate for the Gators in the seventh, which became an inning of firsts. Brandon Sedell crushed an RBI triple in his first career at bat and Connor Mitchell collected his first career hit with an RBI hit. Shafer then collected two more RBI on a double to bring his productive night at the plate to a close.