Pigott Celebrates Senior Night With Blast

Daniel Pigott was supposed to hit the ball on the ground. With a runner on first and no outs, he got the sign to slash—fake a bunt and hit it hard on the ground. Instead, he hit it over the left field bleachers. The senior's home run gave the Gators some breathing room on Senior Night as No. 5 Florida secured a 4-1 win over Mississippi State to take the first game of the series.

"You usually try to hit the ball on the ground… but I didn't," Daniel Pigott said with a laugh. "I think he probably figured I was bunting because I squared the first pitch, too, and then I didn't."

Two hours after being honored on the field before the game with his family and friends for Senior Night, Pigott turned it into a game none of them would forget. He ended the night 2-4 and reached on an error that scored a run with two outs in the third inning.

With a first pump and firm high five with third base coach Craig Bell as he headed home, Pigott gave the Gators some breathing room that they haven't had much of during the recent offensive struggles.

"It's huge. You've got a 2-1 ball game at that point," Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "Next thing you know if one (Mississippi State) guy gets on and they bunt him over, now you've got pressure to make pitches or you've got a tie ball game. And you know (MSU closer Caleb) Reed is sitting down there ready to go.

"Anytime you can tack on one more run—even if it was one run and made it 3-1—it's huge, but we'll take the two."

The sense in the dugout and from the coaching staff did include some shock. The Gators were playing for one run and O'Sullivan wanted to get the bunt down to move the runner to second base. He also trusted his senior to put the ball in play and possibly create a big inning.

It ended up being a perfect call. Mississippi State starting pitcher Chris Stratton, who was still in the game despite throwing 111 pitches for the next one knocked him out of the game. Pigott squared to bunt on the previous pitch, but he watched a ball go by instead.

Stratton threw him a fastball down the middle, likely assuming Pigott would bunt again, and it landed in the parking lot between McKethan Stadium and the O'Connell Center.

"It just goes to show when you take a short, compact swing and keep your nose on the ball that good things will happen," O'Sullivan said.

Pigott has bounced around the Florida lineup this season as the coaching staff tries to find a spot that fits him. O'Sullivan thinks they've found it. He has spent the past few weeks in the fifth spot in the order and has taken advantage of it.

"We felt really good with him in the two hole, but it seems like ever since we moved him to the two-hole behind Johnson, it gives us one more bat behind Johnson," O'Sullivan said. "He gives Brian some protection and not have a freshman or a less experienced guy behind him."

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