TAMPA, FL — University of Florida sophomore right-hander Brett Morales, (Tampa King) was perfect through six innings, striking out seven on 70 pitches and the third ranked Gators beat the USF Bulls 13-3 USF Baseball Stadium, in front of 2059 fans.
Morales was in command from the start, pitching featuring a devastating change-up and pin point command of his fast ball.
“I threw my change-ups for strikes. That was my go to pitch tonight. I was able to get ahead with off-speed pitches and work that fast ball late, which helped. Coming into college, the change-up was my best pitch. It was off a little last year, so it was good to have it back tonight.” said Morales. It was great to come back home and pitch in from of my family and friends, and be back in Tampa.”
“He has great stuff,” said USF head coach Mark Kingston. “He is a weekend starter a lot of different times for a reason, he has exceptional command, and we had no answers for him”
Harrison Bader doubled in the first to score Buddy Reed and Richie Martin to get the scoring started early 2-0. The Gators tacked on another run in the second on an RBI single by Buddy Reed, scoring Ryan Larson making it 3-0.
USF starter Tommy Peterson was chased in the fifth, trailing 5-0 after giving up a two-run shot to Harrison Bader. Peterson threw 104 pitches over 4 2/3 innings, gave up seven hits and walked three. He struck out six.
The Gators ended the night with 13 hits, led by J.J. Schwarz who had three hits and five RBI. Buddy Reed had three hits, scored two runs and chipped in with two RBI.
Bader continued his torrid start to 2015, coming into the game hitting .583, with two hits, including the home run and three RBI.
The Bulls got on the board in the seventh when Kyle Teaf singled and drove home Kevin Merrrell who reached on an error to start the inning.
Teaf was thrown out in a run down and Luke Maglich followed a Levi Borders strike out with a single. Luke Borders then delivered a run scoring single to score Maglich cutting the deficit to 6-2.
The Gators exploded for seven runs in the top half of the eighth end ending any thoughts of a USF rally.
The Bulls added another run in the eight when Austin Lueck tripled and scored on a wild pitch, with game well in hand for Florida
Luke Borders then delivered a run scoring single to score Maglich cutting the deficit to 6-2.
“I told the team its one game, but I want them to hate to lose. We’re going to flush it. That’s a top five team and we’re not,” concluded Kingston.
The Bulls are 2-2 to start off the 2015 season, after playing three nationally ranked teams. What they saw tonight is a team with Omaha potential and offered the Bulls a glimpse of where they want to be.
USF will host Wagner Friday in the first weekend series of the year at home.