NCAA Baseball News

Brandon Sproat hurls one-hitter against Alabama

Gators win close battle with Siena to start series

Florida needed to start off conference play with a win, and right-handed junior Brandon Sproat made sure his team came out on top by throwing a complete-game, one-hit shutout against the Alabama Crimson Tide en route to a 3-0 win.

It was a masterful performance from the UF starter that needed it the most after being outshined by Hurston Waldrep and Jac Caglianone throughout the non-conference schedule. It was Sproat’s first complete game and first time hitting double-digit strikeouts (11) this season.

His fastball touched 99 mph and held at 97-98 mph through the ninth, similar to a prime Justin Verlander. He needed just 106 pitches to finish off the Tide, 64 of which came in for strikes. The lone Alabama hit of the night came from second baseman Ed Johnson, and Sproat only walked one after the second inning.

This is why Sproat is the team’s ace. He sets the tone in a series and, perhaps more importantly, keeps the bullpen fresh for whatever comes over the next two games.

Sproat said he felt the changeup was his best pitch of the night and it’s hard to argue with him. A pitch coming in as fast as 90 mph and vanishing out of the bottom of the zone is pretty tough to deal with, and Alabama had no answer for it.

On offense, Cade Kurland’s two-run home run in the sixth was the big blow. Alabama was using whatever pitchers it had left and seemed to be saving its big guns for Friday and Saturday, so it’s impressive that this game stayed knotted at zero for so long.

Kurland is now up to six home runs, which is the same amount as his All-American teammate Wyatt Langford. Speaking of the future top-five pick, he was once again absent from the Gators’ lineup in favor of Richie Schiekofer in left. Langford took a foul ball off the groin a last Friday and apparently hasn’t recovered yet. That’s something to monitor and potentially be nervous about.

Ty Evans drove in an insurance run for Florida in the seventh with, scoring Josh Rivera who went 2 for 3 on the night. Rivera was the only Gator other than Kurland to collect a hit on the night. Evans got his RBI via a ground out.

Hopefully, the bats come to life a bit on Friday, especially…

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