Very few expected No. 6 Florida and Siena to be tied heading into the sixth inning on Friday, but that’s exactly where the two teams found themselves after a 90-minute rain delay prevented the game from starting on time.
The Saints entered the game with an overall record of 2-10 and just one player hitting .300 or better, but right-hander Arlo Marynczak held the Gators to just two runs across five innings of work.
Florida hit Marynczak fine. He ended the night giving with seven hits allowed and two walks, but the Gators just couldn’t score against him after plating a run in each of the first two innings.
The second inning could have been much bigger for Florida as Wyatt Langford came up with the bases loaded and one out, but Marynczak got him to foul out and then induced a pop-up from Jac Caglianone.
Florida’s top two hitters are supposed to come through in a situation like that, especially against a team such as Siena, and it’s the first time fans have seen them fail in 2023.
The Gators had another bases-loaded opportunity in the bottom of the seventh but again failed to come through. Tyler Shelnut struck out and Matt Prevesk, who entered the game for Luke Heyman after a presumed injury to his hamstring, flew out to strand three baserunners .
Wyatt Langford also left the game in the sixth inning; a foul ball hit him earlier in the game, but there was no official word on why he left.
Shelnut did contribute earlier in the game, though, hitting a go-ahead home run in the sixth inning off left-handed reliever Billy Rozakis. Noah Rodriguez came in next and was the one to get out of the second bases-loaded jam of the night.
Fortunately, Florida’s bullpen didn’t implode and held on to a one-run lead after Brandon Sproat finished off four scoreless innings.
It wasn’t Sproat’s best day. He couldn’t locate his fastball, and his slider was off too. He gave up three hits and three walks while striking out seven and hitting two batters.
Cade Fisher was first out of the bullpen for Florida. He struck out five through two innings but also gave up a pair of runs, only one of which was earned. The Gators committed two errors on Friday night, which is unusually sloppy for this team.
Nick Ficarrotta was next out of the bullpen. He allowed just two hits through two scoreless innings while striking out a pair, and then Brandon Neely came in to shut the door.
Neely struck out each of the first two batters he faced but gave up a single to Matt Livingston before getting out No. 3 to end the inning.
The silver lining here is that Florida’s bullpen shone for perhaps the first time this season, but the lack of offense was unexpected, to say the least.
If Florida struggles to put runs on the board again on Saturday, it might be something to get worried about. Conference play starts in less than a week, and Florida needs to be at its best.
The Gators and Saints go again on Saturday at 4 pm EST.
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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire