Zack Powers found himself in the middle of a bench-clearing tussle against Florida State. A month later, he came a call away from hitting into a triple play. The bizarre sequence started in the second inning with Powers roping a line drive to Missouri first baseman Kendall Keeton who snagged the liner, stepped on first and fired to third to complete the rare trifecta.
The at-bat defied reason. Jacksonville’s No. 9 batter, Dylan Dillard, stepped to the plate with two outs and runners on second and third base. Right-hander Ryan Harris toed the rubber.
John Sternagel raised his finger to the sky as he rounded first base. He did it again once he crossed home plate. The freshman just delivered a one-run lead by sending a baseball into the tan glove of a fan standing in the left-field bleachers.
Hitting coach Brad Weitzel tossed baseballs about 45 feet from home plate to a group of Gators that included Casey Turgeon, Justin Shafer and Richie Martin. The three players played through a sub-.500 season in 2013 that had Florida and coach Kevin O’Sullivan on the fringe of missing postseason play.
The Gators had their work cut out for them two weeks ago. An eight-game road trip that included three top-10 teams awaited them.
When trouble brewed in 2013, Florida folded. That has not been the case this season.