No. 1 Florida Sweeps Vanderbilt

The loss of Karsten Whitson looked like it would leave a hole in the third spot of the rotation. While Florida waits for Whitson's arm to heal, Jonathon Crawford has picked up the slack. The sophomore right-hander tossed five shutout innings on Sunday as No. 1 Florida won its 17th straight game with an 8-2 win over Vanderbilt to sweep the opening weekend of SEC play.

"It all starts on the mound, and (Crawford) gave us a great start," Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "To go five innings and give up no runs—there's not much more we can ask for him. It seems like he's getting better every time he gets out there."

It didn't look good for Crawford early. Tony Kemp reached with a one-out single and went to third on a stolen base and passed ball. After Mike Yastrzemski walked, Crawford was already at 20 pitches after only recording one out.

The sophomore went to his two-seamer. Vanderbilt shortstop Anthony Gomez hit it on the ground to Nolan Fontana, who flipped to second where Casey Turgeon finished off the double play with a throw to first. The throw bounced, and freshman first baseman Taylor Gushue scooped it out of the ground, despite learning how to play first base only weeks ago.

After that Crawford put it in cruise control. He allowed four base runners in the next four innings and finished by walking two and striking out six.

"I feel really confident about that (outing)," Jonathon Crawford said. "I walked a few guys, but I worked out of it and used my defense well."

After Crawford gave the Gators five innings, the rested Florida bullpen took over. Steven Rodriguez and Austin Maddox each gave up a run in a combined four innings of work. The run that Maddox allowed was his first of the season and first in 20 appearances, dating back to April 2011. After 17.1 innings this season, Maddox has a 0.52 ERA.

The Florida offense used two three-run innings. Freshmen Casey Turgeon and Josh Tobias started the third inning with back-to-back singles, with both advancing on the throw to give Florida second and third with no outs. After Nolan Fontana's RBI groundout and Daniel Pigott's sacrifice fly, Preston Tucker lined a home run off the right field scoreboard.

That happened one inning after Taylor Gushue homered over the scoreboard.

The Gators tacked on with a Mike Zunino sacrifice fly in the eighth inning, followed by a Brian Johnson RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Gushue.

Florida learned on Sunday that senior center fielder Tyler Thompson tore his ACL on Friday night. He was rounding first base and hit awkwardly before continuing to second base. Thompson came out of the game immediately and wasn't in the lineup on Saturday and Sunday.

Pigott started in center field on Saturday and Sunday with Justin Shafer in left field both days. O'Sullivan said that will continue to be the plan going forward.

"We're very disappointed for him," O'Sullivan said. "We're going to get together Tuesday with the doctors and look at every possible scenario for him. It's very unfortunate. We feel terrible. He has worked awfully hard to put himself in a great position."

The Gators will play at home on Tuesday when they host Samford at 7 p.m. Florida will then travel to South Carolina for the second weekend of conference play from Thursday-Saturday.

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