The Florida Gators baseball and softball squads split a pair of Wednesday evening match-ups against the Central Florida Knights, with the former falling 8-6 in Orlando, FL as the latter won 8-1 at home in Gainesville, FL.
Central Florida (24-14) jumped on No. 5/5 Florida (28-10) early and often, scoring eight unanswered runs over seven innings. Junior starting right-handed pitcher Tommy Toledo (2-3) was saddled with the loss after giving up an earned run in the second inning, but three of his seven relief pitchers allowed the Knights to score the majority of their runs. Junior left-handed pitcher Alex Panteliodis (2.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 K), freshman LHP Daniel Gibson (0.2 IP, 2 ER, K) and junior RHP Anthony DeSclafani (1.0 IP, 3 ER, 1 K) all struggled with UCF’s batters as their own offense stalled.
Looking to make a last-ditch effort, the Gators scored six runs in the top of the eighth inning but were unable to fight back all the way. Junior left fielder Tyler Thompson (1-4, 2 RBI, R) hit a two-RBI homer to left field after sophomore third baseman Austin Maddox (1-4, R) singled to get on base. With the bases loaded and one out, junior first baseman Preston Tucker (1-4, GS, 4 RBI, R) stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam to right. Sophomore catcher Mike Zunino (2-4) got on base with a double, but the following two batters – sophomore designated hitter Brian Johnson (0-4) and Maddox – struck out swinging to end the rally and end the come-from-behind bid.
No. 8/9 Florida softball (38-7) fared better against their in-state rival, defeating UCF (18-25) 8-1 in another masterful performance. Freshman RHP Hannah Rogers (23-5) picked up yet another win though she split duties with returning senior ace RHP Stephanie Brombacher, who pitched 2.1 innings and struck out three batters in relief.
The Gators piled on the runs early, scoring two in the first inning and six more through the fourth. Senior LF Kelsey Bruder (2-3, HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, BB) continued her hot streak, as did sophomore right fielder/catcher Brittany Schutte (1-2, HR, 4 RBI, R). Freshman 3B Kasey Fagan (1-2, HR, RBI, R, BB) joined the party with a solo shot of her own.
Baseball and softball will also face a common opponent, each beginning their own three-game series with Alabama on Friday evening.