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Monday, August 08, 2022
Brady Smith
Brady Smith

Brady Smith waited on deck for his fourth at-bat of the season, looking toward the diamond as he practiced his swing repeatedly.

At the plate was shortstop Josh Rivera, who struck out looking on a pitch from Marshall right-hander Bryan Callaly.

Smith was a combined 0 for 3 against the Thundering Herd throughout the weekend. And seeing Rivera get fanned right before heading into the box did him no favors.

The buildup didn’t affect Smith’s confidence, however, as he notched his first hit of the season with a solo home run to break Florida’s deadlock with Marshall in the bottom of the fourth.

Smith wasn’t done yet, though.

The junior nailed a three-run homer over the left-field wall just two innings later to give his team a six-run lead and put a stop to the Thundering Herd’s comeback attempt.

Smith’s offensive display on Sunday helped the No. 4 Gators to a 15-8 victory over Marshall at Alfred A. McKethan Stadium.

“Just staying with my approach,” Smith said about his mindset coming into the box without a hit.

“(I) got fortunate enough that it went over the fence, but (I) need to stay with it and move on to Tuesday’s game.”

Right-hander Nick Pogue earned the start on the mound for Florida (3-0) after standing out in fall ball, but his performance was less than ideal.

The sophomore gave up a single to Marshall (0-3) shortstop Geordon Blanton on his very first pitch and another one to first baseman Zach Inskeep just two batters afterward.

Later in the first inning, Blanton and Inskeep celebrated at the plate following right fielder Jordon Billups’ two-RBI double off Pogue.

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The second inning didn’t go any better, as Blanton blasted a three-run homer to give Marshall a 5-2 advantage.

Pogue showed his emotions at the end of the second, taking off his glove and slamming it against the dugout wall in frustration.

Right-hander Christian Scott stepped on the mound in the third to replace Pogue, who allowed six hits and five runs in just two innings pitched.

Unlike Pogue, Scott was on his game.

The Parkland, Florida, native gave up two hits and no runs in 2.2 innings pitched, allowing his offense to mount a comeback in the third and fourth.

UF’s first three batters -- center fielder Jud Fabian, left fielder Austin Langworthy and third baseman Kirby McMullen -- combined for an 8-of-12 showing at the plate and five RBI.

Smith, who earned his first start of the season, registered five RBI on his own as the last batter in the lineup.

Scott’s unblemished outing and Florida’s hot bats gave way for UF to complete the sweep of its first opponent for the sixth-straight season.

It was good to get tested early like this and keep our heads in the game, not get down on ourselves, and we hung with it,” coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We had a great weekend offensively. There wasn't a lot of at-bats we gave away."

Follow Bryan on Twitter @bryan_2712. Contact him at bmatamoros@alligator.org.

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