June 21, 2011
Tucker Lifts Florida past Vandy
By Jimmy Jones
Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
(photos by Jimmy Jones)
Karsten Whitson and Steven Rodriguez (right)
combined to shut down the vaunted Vanderbilt offense, and
Preston Tucker showed that there would be no power outage
despite a series of extreme storms over TD Ameritrade Park as
Florida captured a 3-1 win spanning Monday night and Tuesday
One pitch may have
been the difference – Tucker blasted a three-run homer in the
top of the fourth inning off Grayson Garvin, the SEC pitcher of
the year – but it was a long time in coming as the game was a
continuation of Monday night’s start when torrential rains and
strong winds halted the contest with one out in the Vanderbilt
half of the sixth inning.
“I told the kids that it was just the difference in a swing,
really,” Commodores coach Tim Corbin said. “Both teams pitched
very well the whole entire time. Starters did a nice job. “The
guy on my right [Garvin] pitched very well, and put us in a
position to win.
“But that was the difference. It was just a swing, and that is
the way the game’s played, particularly when you have got two
evenly matched teams.”
The Commodores (53-11) managed just four hits, and the only run
came courtesy of sophomore Anthony Gomez, who knocked in Connor
Harrell with two outs in the bottom of the fifth.
(left) started the game and threw 4.2 innings, surrendering four
hits and one earned run along with five strikeouts. Vandy, which
hit the ball hard on numerous occasions throughout the game,
chased Whitson in the fifth; Rodriguez entered the game and left
the Commodores guessing with his longest outing of the season
for Florida (52-17).
He set a career mark with seven strikeouts in his stint.
Garvin pitched six innings, surrendering three runs on five
hits, while striking out nine batters.
“I thought it was a great ballgame by both clubs,” Florida coach
Kevin O’Sullivan said. “Obviously the margin was for error was
very small for both sides. I thought both pitchers did exactly
what they needed to do to give their team a chance to stay in
“Like I said, the margin for error was very small today. A walk
here, an error there and the next thing you know the complexion
of the game changes. This thing is a long way from over, but
we’re awfully excited about the position we’re in right now.”
Florida is now off until Friday and awaits the winner of the
Vanderbilt-North Carolina elimination game on Wednesday at 6 CT.