Florida defeats Mississippi State 11-1 in first game of NCAA Super Regional
In his most recent outing against Mississippi State this past April,Florida sophomore pitcher Hudson Randall survived just 2 1/3 innings, giving up ninehits and six runs. So needless to say, he was eager to get another shot at the Bulldogs.
Friday afternoon, Randall redeemed himself.
Randall pitched a postseason career-high eight innings, giving up justone earned run on a season-high 115 pitches to help Florida to an 11-1 victory over MSUin the first game of the NCAA Gainesville Super Regional.
"I was a little more anxious coming out,'' Randall said. "It pumped me up a little bit more because they tattooed me over in Starkville. And I missed pitching against them inthe SEC Tournament, so I was really excited to come back out and give it another go.’’
Florida has outscored its opponents 34-1 in the first three innings of NCAA Tournament play.
The Gators jumped out to a 4-0 first inning lead against freshman pitcher Evan Mitchell who walked three of the first nine batters.
"Obviously we're not thrilled with our performance,'' MSU coach John Cohen said. "The thing that we have to do, to reallly get a club like Florida, is we have to throw the ball in the strike zone immediately. Evan has done such a great job in the last three or four outings. He got behind instantly (today) - the two walks in the first inning scored. Again, if you give up solo home runs, it's not going to kill you, but when walks are in front of that, it's just not going to win for you.''
The Gators picked up home runs from SS Nolan Fontana (second inning), catcher Mike Zunino (fourth) and DH Daniel Pigott (7th).
"We were trying to look for fast balls early and I was trying to look for one on that first pitch,'' Zunino said. "I got a good swing on it and just got a home run out of it.''
Florida (49-16)and MSU (37-24) will play the second game of the best-of-three series today at noon. The Gators fully expect it to be much tougher. “This job is not over, and we’ve talked about that already,’’ Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We don’t carry over any wins from (Friday) to (Saturday). We’ll be ready to play. We will not overlook them.’’