Gators sweep Alabama

Florida only won 14 games in the Southeastern Conference last season. This year, they're riding an 11-game winning streak in the SEC to an 18-6 conference record after Sunday's 13-3 win over Alabama. The Gators won two close games to clinch the series before blowing out the Crimson Tide on Sunday, completing Florida's first sweep in Tuscaloosa since 1988.

The win combined with losses for LSU and Ole Miss pushed Florida's conference lead to three games with six SEC games remaining. The Gators finish the year by hosting Vanderbilt next weekend and traveling to Tennessee to conclude conference play. A 4-2 record would clinch the outright title for Florida.

The 11th straight SEC win on Sunday tied the school record.

"That's hard to do," Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan said on the postgame radio show. "It's difficult to go .500 in this league and then you go run off 11 in a row. We're in a good place right now. We've got to be mature and handle it the right way. Be positive, excited about how we're playing."

The scoring started early with an RBI double by designated hitter Mike Fahrman in the second inning. The third inning served as the big blow. Florida put together a four-run inning, punctuated with a two-run double by first baseman Pete Alonso. The freshman went 3-4 with a home run and double while totaling four RBI.

"Pete Alonso, what can you say? He hits a home run, almost got another one on a double," O'Sullivan said. "He's a hitter now. He's going to hit. That's why we haven't messed with him much in the lineup. We trust him. It's a really good day for him."

The Gators posted three runs in the eighth and ninth inning to erase any doubt.

Florida second baseman Casey Turgeon finished the weekend with a strong argument to be named SEC Player of the Week. The junior hit .727 (8-11) on the weekend with four walks, three runs scored and two RBI.

"Casey Turgeon probably had the weekend of his career," O'Sullivan said. "We need him down the stretch. That's the type of performance you need from your older players if you're going to make a run at this thing at the end. He was outstanding this weekend."

The offense experienced a breakout weekend, and O'Sullivan saw it happen after the team focused more on hitting the ball back up the middle and to the opposite field. That combined with 21 walks worked by Florida hitters on the weekend produce 24 runs in three games.

"Our approach was really good," O'Sullivan said. "We stayed in the middle of the field, scorched some balls to center and right-center field. I really thought our approach was good. That's who we are. We'll run into some balls (for home runs), but we're an athletic team that has to put the ball in play and stay in the middle of the field. They're starting to figure that out."

Karsten Whitson pitched four innings, allowing seven hits, one run and two walks while striking out one hitter. He threw 56 pitches on the day, something that should change as he makes more starts.

"I thought Karsten threw the ball really well," O'Sullivan said. "Obviously we'd like to get him extended more but encouraged with how he threw."

Florida returns home to face Mercer on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Bears are ranked in most major polls are have a top 30 RPI.


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