No. 22 Gator Baseball defeated Auburn Sunday, 5-1, to take 2 of 3 on the Plains. UF (23-12, 9-6) was a walk off homer away from winning the first game, but lost 8-7. In Game 2, the Gators exploded, winning 24-2. UF actually was losing 1-0 before scoring 2 in the 4th. Up 3-2 after five innings, the Gators scored 16 runs in the next two innings and dropped a five spot in the ninth.
While 24 runs is nice, Stephen Locke's scrambling 8 IP is a sign of strength for the Gators as they get deeper into the spring. Locke (1-0) allowed 10 hits and 2 walks, but struck out 6 and allowed only 2 runs. Since returning to the club, Locke has a 2.70 ERA in 17.1 IP. However, he is allowing opponents to hit .282, a dangerous number if it wasn't for Locke's 14 strikeouts and 3 walks. Sunday's starter, Anthony DeSclafani (4-1), pitched 6.1 innings and allowed 1 run on 4 hits. He had no strikeouts, but only walked one.The freshman has a 3.12 ERA and is allowing opponents to hit .223 in 34.2 innings. As a whole, the Gator staff is allowing opponents to hit .275. This is 8th in the SEC, but since UF limits walks (97, 3rd in the SEC), UF is 2nd in team ERA (3.79, behind UGA's 3.59).
The offense for UF has been about average. Hitting .299 (6th in SEC) and with an OBP of .388 (9th), the Gators could be better. Their .448 slugging isn't so hot (9th) either. As the season gets older and the air gets humid, the ball will not carry as well in Gainesville, further hurting the Gators' bats. They need to hit because there is no guarantee the UF pitching staff will continued their torrid pace. The Gators' best offensive player has been freshman Preston Tucker. The Tampa first baseman will likely win the team Triple Crown, leading in homers (7), RBI (45) and average (.359). Compared with those numbers, Tucker's .395 OBP looks weak. But this is a club that swings the bat. They don't strike out (5th least in the SEC) or walk (11th in most walks taken). Tucker is an example with only 10 strikeouts in 117 ABs, but 7 walks and 2 HBP.
Florida has won 3 of 5 SEC series and faces Ole Miss (25-10, 9-6) this weekend in Gainesville. Tuesday night, will be the rubber match of their three game series with Florida State (21-11) in Tallahassee.
On the other side of campus, the Best Dressed Women In Gainesville continue to destroy people. No. 1 Gator Softball (42-3, 20-1) swept Kentucky 1-0 and 6-0 Saturday afternoon. Junior Francesca Enea hit two homers (13, 14) in the second game, setting the school record with 37 career home runs. Those homers followed Enea's walk off Wednesday night that defeated FSU 4-3 in nine innings. That lead to this awesome picture. Enea is at the bottom with the No. 10 helmet.
The Gators face No. 18 LSU (25-10-1, 10-6-1) next weekend in Baton Rouge.