Baseball Earns Series Win Over Arkansas
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Three Gator pitchers combined on a three-hit shutout and freshman Peter Alonso’s (Tampa, Fla.) first-inning homer was the difference as Florida (13-6/2-0 SEC) secured its weekend series with a 1-0 win over Arkansas (8-7/0-2 SEC) on Saturday night at McKethan Stadium.
Making his first start of the season, sophomore right-hander Eric Hanhold (Palm Harbor, Fla.) (3-1) threw five scoreless innings, giving up just a pair of singles, with two strikeouts and two walks. He was followed to the mound by junior southpaw Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.), who retired the first 10 Arkansas hitters that he faced and totaled four strikeouts over his 3.2-inning stint. Junior Ryan Harris(Jupiter, Fla.) ended the contest with a strikeout with a runner on first base to collect his third save. The Gators extended their winning streak to seven games with their fourth shutout of the season and are the only team in the SEC without a loss on the first weekend of conference action.
Alonso provided the Gators with a 1-0 lead in the first inning with a two-out home off of UA sophomore right-hander Trey Killian (0-3). His first career round-tripper landed in the visiting bullpen and marked the second-straight day that UF had drawn first blood in the opening frame.
The Gators threatened again in the third inning by having runners on the corners and one down, but were kept at bay by Killian. Junior Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) (2-for-4) doubled to right field with one down and took third on a passed ball and Alonso drew a walk. However, junior Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) hit into an inning-ending double play, grounding out to redshirt junior first baseman Eric Fisher, who stepped on the bag and then threw out Turgeon at the plate to keep the Hogs’ deficit at 1-0.
Killian went the distance, permitting seven hits and registering six strikeouts, but suffered the defeat.
Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan
On tonight’s game and clinching the series over Arkansas:
“This was Eric Hanhold’s first start of the year. He started with a four-pitch walk to lead off the game, but he made some big pitches in the first inning when he needed to. I thought he was really good. His command will get better as he goes along, but for a first start I thought he was really good. We kept his pitch count relatively where we planned. We planned 70-75 pitches, but he got through five innings with 64 pitches and then they had left, right, left coming up so we ran Bobby Poyner down to the pen to get him going. Bobby was outstanding tonight, as good as it gets. (Ryan) Harris threw the ball really well at the end too.”
“I’m really happy with Peter Alonso getting his first home run as a Gator. I thought (Casey) Turgeon swung the bat really well. (Braden) Mattson got another hit, (Justin) Shafer is seeing the ball better, and (Zack) Powers turned down one and saw it well. Buddy Reed also had two really good at-bats tonight.”
“We faced another quality pitcher tonight (Arkansas’ RHP Trey Killian); he’s really good. He held his velocity all the way through eight innings, and was still pitching 91-92 in the eighth. He had three pitches going for strikes. We’ve seen really good quality starters the last couple of days. I’m excited that we won the series obviously, but we have a chance to come back tomorrow and win three, and that doesn’t happen very often, especially against Arkansas. The guys will enjoy tonight, but we’ll come back ready to play tomorrow.”
Junior left-hander Bobby Poyner
On clinching the series tonight against Arkansas:
“I thought Eric (Hanhold) got us off to a great start tonight, just like Logan (Shore) last night. When you get a good start, you always have a great chance at winning. The bullpen’s been good. (Aaron) Rhodes did a heck of a job (yesterday). (Ryan) Harris came in there in the ninth and saved me there, I appreciate that.”
Sophomore right-hander Eric Hanhold
On his first start of the season tonight:
“I came out and struggled a little with my command, but I had to battle through that. My defense played really well behind me. Bobby Poyner came in and did amazing and so did (Ryan) Harris. It was a huge boost for us.”
Freshman designated hitter Peter Alonso
On his first career home run:
“The feeling of rounding the bases was just unbelievable for the first time. I kind of felt like a little kid again. I’m just glad I could get one over, and ultimately have it be the winning run in the game.”
Saturday Night Notables:
· The Gators improved to 7-4 in their last 11 games against Arkansas.
· UF is now 16-10 all-time at home against the Razorbacks.
· Arkansas did not have a hit for 6.2 innings, beginning with two outs in the second inning until one out in the ninth.
· Florida has now won seven-straight games, its longest winning streak since they took eight in a row from April 7-20, 2013.
· UF’s six-game home winning streak is its longest since eight in-a-row from March 30-April 27, 2013.
· The Gators have won eight of their last nine contests.
· Florida has had five of their last six games decided by one run, winning all five contests.
· The Gators improved to 6-1 in one-run games this season.
On the Mound:
· RHP Eric Hanhold (3-1, 1.93) started his first game of the season after appearing in 10 games in relief… Stranded a pair of runners in scoring position in the opening frame after the first two runners of the game reached base … Retired the side in order in the fourth on three consecutive ground balls … Held Arkansas without a hit for 2.1 innings after a two-out single in the second ... Struck out two and held the Razorbacks to no runs on two hits and two walks in five innings of work.
· The Gator pitching staff during the team’s current 7-game winning streak: 1.61 ERA (67.0 IP, 14 R, 12 ER, 64 K)…UF improved to 7-1 this season when its starter throws at least 5.0 innings.
At the Plate:
· Freshman first baseman Peter Alonso hit his first career home run with two outs in the first … Alonso’s long ball into the visiting bullpen occurred on a 3-2 pitch … Alonso’s home run represented his third extra base hit of the season.
· Junior Casey Turgeon notched his fifth double of the year with one out in the third … Turgeon finished the evening 2-for-4.
· Junior LHP Bobby Poyner (3-2, 2.21) entered the game to start the sixth inning and held Arkansas off the board in his 3.2 innings of work … Struck out four batters and allowed one hit … Retired the side in order in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings … Sat down 10 batters in a row before a one-out single in the ninth.
· Junior RHP Ryan Harris (1-0, 0.73) came in and recorded the final out of the ballgame via swinging strikeout … Harris earned his third save of the year.
The Gators and Hogs will complete the series at McKethan Stadium on Sunday at 1 p.m. The game can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell and will be carried on Fox Sports Florida with Nick Belmonte and Larry Vettel.
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Live stats for each game are available on GatorZone.com and fans can also receive updates of each game on @GatorZoneBB, the official Twitter account of the Gator baseball team.
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