Florida 12, Arkansas 8

Second-ranked Florida takes 7-0 lead en route to 12-8 victory over Arkansas at Baum Stadium on Thursday night.

There was a hint of some resistance from Arkansas starting pitching on Friday night, but No. 2 Florida scored in the final six innings on the way to a 12-8 victory that was a lot like the last month for the slumping Razorbacks.

Dominic Taccolini put up three goose eggs to start the game Thursday night at Baum Stadium, but there was little doubt that was all the UA starter had in the tank when the first three batters reached in the fourth on a single and two walks. Reliever Josh Alberius, so solid for much of the season, didn't have it either as the Gators plated six in the inning.

Down 7-0, the Hogs fought back against the bottom of the Florida bullpen for five in the eighth to at least force closer Shaun Anderson to record four outs.

"That was about the only positive for us," said Dave Van Horn, frustrated again by a short outing by a starter.

"We made them pitch their closer. It was only 17 pitches, but maybe that figures in at some point this weekend."

Arkansas (21-13, 4-9) lost its sixth straight SEC game. It's been a similar script for most of the last month, not enough innings from the starters. Van Horn was asked if he's ever faced a worse stretch in his career.

"My career, probably I have," he said. "But it is what it is, probably the roughest stretch of starting pitching.

"We've been behind by three, four, five, six runs pretty quickly."

The Hogs committed five errors, two each by shortstop Michael Bernal and Tucker Pennell. Bernal booted a double play ground that figured in the Florida scoring.

Taccolini, who pitched out of the bullpen last weekend, seemed in command for three innings. But he lost the strike zone in the fourth.

"It was three good innings," Van Horn said. "But that's what's been going on, two or three great innings, then it goes away. He looked good against Auburn and it went away. His velocity dropped and he was missing location. He looked like a guy that was done.

"Alberius has pitched incredible all spring, but he wasn't locating tonight. It was uncharacteristic."

Florida (31-5, 9-4) got a solid performance from 6-7 lefty A.J. Puk. The sophomore starter was pitching on 10 days rest after missing last weekend with a stiff back. He gave up RBI singles to Clark Eagan and Luke Bonfield in the fifth and was done after 98 pitches.

"We got his pitch count up and we did chip away against some of their other guys," Van Horn said. "Our team keeps fighting, but we are playing up hill."

Florida used six pitchers, but the middle four were not front liners. The Hogs will get one of the nation's best Friday night in Logan Shore. Game time is 6:30 p.m.

"Shore is 6-0 and he's their ace," Van Horn said. "He's very good."

The Hogs will counter with sophomore Keaton McKinney. He pitched out of the bullpen last weekend, too. He's been shaking as a starter, like the rest of the weekend guys for the Hogs.

"He's due," Van Horn said. "Hopefully, he can match Shore."

The Gators did not hit the ball out of the park. They did it with eight singles and four doubles. Dalton Guthrie, Deacon Liput, Buddy Reed and Jonathan India all had two hits. Michael Rivera had just one hit, but drove in three.

Grant Koch, who took over for Pennell behind the plate, hit a three-run homer in the eighth. Chad Spanberger added a solo homer in the ninth.


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