COURTESY OF UAA COMMUNICATIONS
Florida (16-9, 2-4 SEC) jumped out to a 5-0 lead through the first five innings, but LSU (18-7, 4-2 SEC) finally got some offense going late and scored eight runs over the final two innings to earn the win.
The LSU offense averaged eight runs per game entering the weekend, but the Gators pitching staff limited the Tigers to just one run through the first 23 innings. The offense finally showed up for the visiting team late Sunday to salvage a win in the finale.
Florida opened the scoring in the third inning. Ryan Larson and Nick Horvath led off with back-to-back singles to set the Gators up. Deacon Liput’s fly ball to right allowed Larson to tag and advance to third.
With Dalton Guthrie at the plate, UF stole a run. Horvath took off from first and Larson sprinted home as soon as the Tigers’ catcher rose to throw to second. Larson scored easily from third for a 1-0 lead.
Nelson Maldonado made it 2-0 in the fourth with his first home run of the season, a solo shot into the left field bleachers.
The Gators added three runs in the fifth, all with two outs. Jonathan India provided the biggest blow with a two-run single to center field.
LSU finally got on the board in the sixth. Jake Slaughter drew a walk to load the bases with two outs and Beau Jordan followed with a bloop single that scored two runs.
Florida starter Jackson Kowar exited in the sixth after working 5.2 innings with both Tigers’ runs credited to him. Michael Byrne relieved him and got the final out of the sixth.
The Gators added another run in the bottom of the inning on JJ Schwarz’s sac fly, but LSU stormed back in the top of the eight against the Florida bullpen.
The Tigers hit three two-run home runs, scoring six runs off the Florida bullpen to take an 8-6 lead. LSU added two runs in the ninth for the final 10-6 margin.
Florida heads to Jacksonville on Tuesday night for a midweek matchup with Florida State at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. Fans can follow along with Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell on the Gators IMG Sports Network.
Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan
“[Jackson] threw 94 pitches over 5.2 innings, he had five walks. We were up 5-0 after five innings and I think he had two walks there in the sixth. Credit their hitters, they did a nice job. It’s that simple.
“We knew they had a really good offense. I was hoping to get through seven innings with Jackson, maybe shorten the game a little bit. We had to go to all those freshmen there, we had a lot of game left. It is what it is.
“The positive on the weekend, we got two great starts and we swung the bats better. We’re going to have to turn around and play a good Florida State team on Tuesday. The guys will be off tomorrow and we’ll be ready to go Tuesday night.”
On message to the team after today:
“It was a disappointing loss. I thought we played great all weekend until the last few innings today. It’s just disappointing. Those are games, I would think, with our pitching staff when you have a five run lead it should be enough. We need to get better in certain areas. We’ve swung the bats better, we’re certainly heading in the right direction. Everybody around the country still has work to do. It’s disappointing, yeah, we just have to get better.”