Sixth Inning Rally Spurs Gators to Victory

The Florida offense looked familiar through five innings. Kevin O'Sullivan was upset with the lack of hitting with runners on base, especially when there were two outs. That changed in the sixth. Arkansas starting pitcher Ryne Stanek came into the sixth inning with a no-hitter, and after recording two outs, he was on the hook for the loss. No. 2 Florida secured the series opener with a 3-2 win.

Ryne Stanek's command wasn't sharp, walking three and hitting one, but when he was in the strike zone, he was overpowering. The sophomore ran his fastball up to 95 mph and was throwing two off-speed pitches for strikes.

"Stanek had his stuff going," Kevin O'Sullivan said after the game. "He was really throwing hard tonight. He had his off-speed stuff going early in the game. He was tough to hit, and it was hard for us to get our offense going."

The offense started when Preston Tucker broke up the no-hit bid with a single to start the sixth inning. After Zunino flew out and Brian Johnson reached on a fielder's choice that threw Tucker out at second, Daniel Pigott lined a single up the middle to send Johnson to third.

Freshman Casey Turgeon, who has shown a knack for the big hit, did it again.

The second baseman launched a double into the right-center field gap, scoring Johnson and Pigott to tie the game.

"We were down by two, I figured a big hit right there would've helped," Turgeon said.

"We finally got to the point where we beared down. We needed some hits, so we got up there, and we gave our best effort to get on base and get something started."

While at second, Turgeon was focusing on Stanek's timing on the mound. He got a good break when Stanek threw a pitch and stole second easily. Later in the at-bat for Maddox, he lined a single to left field that scored Turgeon with ease and gave the Gators a lead they would hold.

"Just grinding out at-bats," Maddox said of his plate appearance. "Obviously, the inning is still not over. We can still score."

While the Florida offense fought back, starting pitcher Hudson Randall (4-1) was sharp. The junior went six innings, allowing six hits, two runs, one walk and striking out three. He threw 77 pitches and hit the strike zone with 51 of them.

After struggling with falling behind hitters last week against Georgia, Randall jumped out in front and commanded the strike zone.

"Hudson did a nice job," O'Sullivan said. "He felt strong and did his job."

When Randall was pulled, O'Sullivan used each of his three bullpen aces for one inning. Greg Larson, Steven Rodriguez and Austin Maddox combined to throw three innings, allowing two hits and recording four strikeouts.

"If it worked out like that every game, that would be perfect," O'Sullivan said with a grin.

Maddox recorded his 12th save in as many appearances this season.

The Gators will try to clinch the series win on Saturday at 7 p.m. Florida will send junior left-hander Brian Johnson to the mound to face an Arkansas pitcher yet to be announced.

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