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Major League Gators swinging big sticks lately on diamond

O’Day solid in recent relief outings for O’s

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Posted: Thursday, July 10, 2014 12:33 am

If you remember how important Taylor Gushue was for Florida last season, you would say the same thing about him now in the minors.

After being selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in last month’s MLB draft, Gushue has claimed his spot on the Class A New York Penn-league affiliate Jamestown Jammers and has been on a tear.

The switch-hitting catcher has played a significant role for the offense, ranking in the top three of five batting categories.

Gushue is hitting .318, which is good for third on the team, he’s second in runs with 14, first in homeruns with four and second in RBIs with 16.

Last season, the Boca Raton native led Florida in slugging percentage (.467) and homers (6), and is now doing the same for the Jammers slugging at a .636 clip.

His hot bat doesn’t stop there.

In the last 10 games the Jammers have played, Gushue has accumulated an on-base percentage of .591, and has drawn 13 walks of his 16 throughout the season.

If that hasn’t convinced you, the rookie has lit up both sides of the plate hitting .333 against left-hand pitchers and .315 on right-handers.

Considering the impact the switch-hitter has had on his team thus far, the catcher has also played more games (19) combined than the other two catchers on the roster (16).

Since moving from Gainesville to New York to continue fulfilling his pro baseball career, Gushue is on the rise.

Zunino aids Mariners:

As of late, Seattle Mariners catcher and former Gator Mike Zunino is improving at providing offensive support.

In the last ten games, Zunino has nine RBIs, five hits, five runs, and three home runs. But he has also struck out 16 times and is hitting .128 in that time span.

Although hitting only .215 so far in the season, Zunino is piling up his best numbers in almost every category offensively since being in the majors while helping Seattle climb the AL West division standings.

The Mariners have gone 6-4 in their last 10 games and sit in third place in the division 3.5 games behind the Los Angeles Angels and eight games from the Oakland Athletics.

Zunino, who played for UF in 2010-12, is tied for first on the team in homeruns with third baseman Kyle Seager (13), and third in RBIs with 34 behind Seager and Robinson Cano.

O’Day solid pitching:

Darren O’Day and the Baltimore Orioles have been climbing their way up the division standings as well lately.

The AL East leading Orioles passed the Toronto Blue Jays as the division leader sitting 2.5 games above the Jays, and O’Day has been an ingredient of the O’s recent success.

O’Day has a staggering ERA of 0.82 in the last 10 games for the O’s in 11 innings pitched, and what is more successful is his 1.38 ERA in the last month.

He got his month off to a strong start striking out three of four batters faced in a relief appearance July 1 against Texas. In his most recent start he again struck out three in two innings of relief.

In 39 games with the O’s this season, the former Gator has piled up 40 strikeouts in 39.2 innings pitched, and has only surrendered five runs and two home runs leaving batters hitting .214 against him.

Follow Lawrence Laguna on Twitter @LagunaLawrence

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