Alabama knocks of Gators in extra innings

Sophomore Tyler Odle belted a two-run homer with one out in the 10th inning to lift Alabama to a 7-5 victory over Florida on Sunday afternoon at McKethan Stadium. After the Gators plated two runs in the bottom of the ninth to force extra frames, Odle responded with his first career round-tripper and second hit of the year off to help the Crimson Tide salvage the series finale.

Sophomore Austin Hyatt (5-1) pitched 1.2 innings to notch the win, while junior Will Stroup (7.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R) pitched brilliantly in his first start of the year following 20 relief appearances.

With UF (25-24/12-12 SEC) down to its last two outs, sophomore Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) picked an opportune time for his first career homer, trimming UA's lead to 5-4 with a shot to right field. Junior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.) followed with an infield single and raced down to second when sophomore Alex Avila's relay throw went wide of first base. Senior Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.) cranked a game-tying double to drive in Townsend and the Tide (27-22/11-13 SEC) brought in Hyatt for junior Josh Copeland (1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R). A grounder by freshman Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) nudged Pride to third and freshman Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) popped up to give the fans free baseball.

Junior Matt Bentley roped a ground-rule double to begin the 10th and junior Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.) came out off the bullpen for senior David Hurst (Jacksonville, Fla.), who registered a career-high six K over four innings. The sidearmer whiffed junior Elvin Vargas before Odle sent a 1-2 pitch over the scoreboard in right to score sophomore pinch runner Jeff Texada for a 7-5 lead.

A two-out double by junior Matt Bentley in the fourth off freshman Billy Bullock (Valrico, Fla.) (2-6) had given the Crimson Tide a 1-0 lead. Freshman Brandon May had drawn a one-out walk and Bentley's eighth double to right center scored his teammate all the way from first base.

Alabama used a pair of solo homers in the fifth to build a 3-0 advantage and chase Bullock. Sophomore Kyle Moore led off with his second dinger to left and senior Emeel Salem connected on his sixth round-tripper two batters later to right center. Freshman Kevin Chapman (Coral Springs, Fla.) replaced Bullock (4.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R) and caught senior Brandon Belcher and May looking on strikes.

The Gators trimmed the deficit to 3-1 in the bottom of the frame on a two-out RBI single by Pride. Freshman Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.) singled up the middle with one down and Townsend produced a two-out infield hit for two Gator runners aboard. Pride sliced a 3-2 offering into left center past senior shortstop Greg Paiml to put UF on the board and Stroup worked out of further trouble by having Pigott force Pride at second.

Avila started things off in the sixth with a walk and moved to second with his third theft. Bentley earned free pass to end the afternoon for Chapman (0.2 IP, 2 BB, 2 K) and freshman Del Howell greeted Hurst with a sacrifice bunt to push his teammates into scoring position. The left-hander fanned Odle and Moore to keep the count 3-1.

The Crimson Tide added two more runs in the seventh on two hits, an error and wild pitch for a 5-1 advantage. Paiml reached on a bunt, Salem was hit by a pitch and Belcher bunted for a hit to load the bases with none out. A grounder by May was misplayed by Figueroa for an error, allowing Paiml to come across. Hurst caught Avila looking on strikes but then uncorked a wild pitch for a four-run Alabama margin.

UF closed to within 5-3 on Figueroa's ninth homer in the home part of the frame. Sophomore Cody Neer (Orlando, Fla.) drew a pinch-hit walk to lead off and Figueroa blasted a 1-1 pitch into the visitor's bullpen.

A leadoff single by Pigott in the eighth prompted a pitching change, as Copeland took over for Stroup. Freshman Clayton Pisani (Naples, Fla.) was plunked by the reliever and junior Bryson Barber (Pensacola, Fla.) laid down a pinch-hit bunt to advance his teammates. Copeland slammed the door by having freshman Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) fly out to right and Neer ground to third.

Florida held a 12-9 advantage in hits but stranded 11 runners. The trio of Belcher, Bentley and Moore had two hits for Alabama, while Figueroa, Hicks, Pride and Townsend had multiple-hit outings for the Gators. Florida will host North Florida on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. in its final non-conference game of the regular season.

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