The Florida baseball team faced Army on Saturday with the loser heading home and the winner earning a chance to play another day.
The Gators earned that opportunity by routing the Knights 13-5 in Lubbock, Texas, behind one of Jack Leftwich’s best starts of the year.
“Jack (Leftwich) gave us the start we needed,” coach Kevin O’Sullivan said in a release.
Leftwich pitched seven innings, giving up just one earned run on one hit while striking out seven.
“He’s healthy, obviously the blister that we just couldn’t control lingered for a long time,” O’Sullivan said. “When you take that much time off, you get out of your rhythm. I think he’s just starting to find his rhythm now.”
UF’s starter received more than enough help from the offense during Saturday’s contest.
Florida (34-25) scored 10 runs combined in innings two through four, led by first baseman Kendrick Calilao.
The freshman went 3 for 3 with a team-high five RBIs on the afternoon.
Already up 5-0 in the fourth inning, UF blew the game open with a five-run inning.
Left fielder Austin Langworthy took a 1-2 pitch deep over the right-field fence, scoring center fielder Jud Fabian.
A Calilao sacrifice fly upped the score to 8-0, and third baseman Cory Acton drove in two with an RBI double.
“Got a lot of offensive production,” O’Sullivan said. “We scored early, which I thought was important…It was a very good day for us offensively.”
Army starter Tyler Giovinco was replaced after just 3.1 innings of work. He gave up seven earned runs on eight hits, obtaining his sixth loss of the year.
His replacement, Sam Messina, couldn’t find the strike zone.
The right hander gave up six walks, allowing four more runs to cross the plate for the Gators.
The Knights end their year at 35-26, making an early exit from the tournament after playing just two games.
As for Florida, they’ll play either Texas Tech or get a rematch with Dallas Baptist in another elimination game at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Follow Evan Lepak on Twitter @evanmplepak and contact him at email@example.com.
Jack Leftwich (left) pitched seven innings and threw seven strikeouts in UF's 13-5 victory over Army on Saturday.