Florida Drops Another to Arkansas

The Florida offense looked like it hit its stride as the Gators (35-10/17-6 SEC) closed out their seven-game homestand on Tuesday. Instead, the offense has started the weekend in Fayetteville with six runs in two games. No. 4 Florida dropped Friday's game 5-3 to Arkansas (32-14/12-11 SEC) at Baum Stadium, securing the series for the Razorbacks.

It was Florida's second series loss of the series, with the first coming to No. 1 South Carolina. It was Florida's first road series loss in over a year.

After Arkansas scored a run in the first inning, the Gators answered with a run in the second. Daniel Pigott reached base with a one-out single, and Austin Maddox later drove him in on a 2-0 pitch that he doubled off the left-center field wall.

Florida added in a run in the third after Mike Zunino doubled and Preston Tucker singled with one out. Josh Adams hit a ground ball to third and beat the throw to first, avoiding a double play and allowing Zunino to score from third to give Florida a 2-1 lead.

The big blow for Arkansas came in the third inning when Florida starting pitcher Brian Johnson (7-2) allowed the big inning that has plagued him all season.

Tim Carver started the inning for the Razorbacks with a double, but Johnson got a fly out and strikeout to make it look like the inning would end without damage. After a two-out walk to James McCann, Johnson allowed an RBI single to Dominic Ficociello that tied the game.

Johnson couldn't limit the damage as Kyle Robinson doubled down the left field line to score two runs and give the Razorbacks a 4-2 lead after three innings. Those were all the runs Arkansas would need.

After a walk and single to start the fifth inning for Florida, reigning SEC Player of the Week Mike Zunino bounced into a double play, but Bryson Smith did score from second on the play to cut the lead to 4-3.

Arkansas added a run in the seventh inning on an RBI single from Franco Broyles. The Razorbacks have now won eight straight games from the Gators in Fayetteville.

The Gators will try to avoid the sweep and salvage a game of the series on Saturday. Florida will send freshman right-hander Karsten Whitson (6-0, 2.02) to the mound against an Arkansas pitcher yet to be named. First pitch is set for 8 p.m.

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