Randall Shuts Down the Tigers

It seemed like the first step to a series win. Instead, it ended up clinching the series. The Gators (17-2) made one run in the first inning stand up for a 1-0 win behind a dominant performance from sophomore right-hander Hudson Randall, giving No. 1 Florida its second series win at No. 5 LSU in the last 11 opportunities.

"He pitched outstanding tonight, and he deserves all the credit," Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan said on the television broadcast about Randall. "He can throw any of his four pitches for strikes. He was just outstanding tonight. I didn't think a 1-0 lead was going to hold up the whole game, but it did today."

It was the first time LSU has been shutout in Alex Box Stadium, which opened for the start of last season. It was the fourth shutout the Florida pitching staff has tossed in 19 games this season after throwing only three last season in 64 games.

The run in the first inning came after Nolan Fontana worked a walk to start the game. Daniel Pigott put together a long at-bat, and eventually drove a ball into the right-center field gap. Fontana was stealing on the pitch, which was delivered from a 3-2 count, and scored easily.

Pigott ended the game 2-for-4, rebounding from an 0-for-5 performance in the series opener on Friday night.

"He has been hot for us. You never know which run will be the one to help you or hurt you in the end. We talked this morning about trying to get an early lead.

Randall (3-0) went 6.2 innings, allowing eight hits, no runs, no walks and recording two strikeouts. It was a vintage performance from Randall. He threw four pitches wherever he wanted in the strike zone and forced hitters to hit pitches on the corners, not over the heart of the plate.

The sophomore lowered his already microscopic ERA from 1.08 to 0.85.

Randall gave up back-to-back singles in the seventh inning before being replaced by Greg Larson, who hit the first batter he faced to load the bases. Larson got Raph Rhymes to ground out and end the inning.

With one out in the eighth inning, O'Sullivan went to the bullpen. LSU All-American Mikie Mahtook was on first and a threat to steal, so O'Sullivan brought out the left-hander Nick Maronde.

All Maronde did was throw the final 1.2 innings and record four strikeouts on the way to his first save of the season.

"We have a lot of confidence in Nick, righties or lefties," O'Sullivan said.

The Tigers left 10 runners on base in the game.

With the series victory in their back pockets, the Gators now must stay focus on Sunday for a chance at the sweep. Florida will send freshman right-hander Karsten Whitson (3-0, 2.21) to the mound against LSU senior right-hander Ben Alsup (3-1, 2.01). First pitch is set for 1 p.m.

"We want to be greedy and try to get this thing done," O'Sullivan said. "You don't get many opportunities to get three wins down here. We're looking forward to getting Karsten Whitson out there, and our bullpen should be fresh. We've got to take full advantage of this."

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