No. 8 Gators Take Series From Tennessee

The Gator baseball team used strong pitching and a seven run sixth inning to defeat Tennessee and take the three game series from the Vols two games to one. The win improved the Gators to 23-8 overall and 8-4 in the SEC while Tennessee fell to 16-17 with a 3-9 SEC mark. For the Gators, it's their third series win in four SEC weekends.

The game was anything but a typical SEC Sunday affair. The contest cruised along quickly and for the first five innings neither team was able to score. Florida freshman Hudson Randall held the Vols hitless through those frames while the Gators had a few opportunities against Tennessee lefty Steven Gruver (1-2) but couldn't do anything with them.

That changed in a big way in the top of the sixth inning at Lindsay Nelson Stadium in Knoxville. The Pigott brothers, Daniel and Jonathan reached on a double and single respectively before Josh Adams crushed a grooved Gruver fastball over the centerfield fence for a 3-0 Florida lead. It was a big hit for Adams who was 0-for-9 on the weekend and 4-for-40 with just one RBI in his first 11 SEC games. That's not what the Gators were expecting this season from the two time All-Conference selection.

The Gators kept up the pressure and added four more runs in the inning with key RBI coming from Matt den Dekker, Preston Tucker and Austin Maddox. The Vols answered with a run on a two-out infield hit in the bottom of the inning, but Florida came right back with a run in the top of the seventh. Randall (3-3) continued to dominate the Vols and left the game after eight innings allowing just four hits and one earned run. Nolan Fontana added an RBI double in the ninth and Kevin Chapman finished it off on the mound.

Perhaps the unsung her of the game for the Gators was sophomore infielder Jerico Weitzel. He was a late addition to the lineup and responded with three doubles while handling six chances at third base flawlessly.

The Gators will be right back at it Tuesday when they head up to Tallahassee for a 6:00 game with the Florida State Seminoles. FSU has won two of three from the Gators this season, and Tuesday's game will mark the conclusion of the teams' four-game, four city series. Florida will follow that up with another SEC road trip, this time to Lexington to face an improving Kentucky team.

Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan talked about the game and weekend on the post-game show on WRUF-FM and the IMG Gator Network.


On the pitching of Hudson Randall:

"He pitched ahead in the count and mixed (it up) early. Anytime you can keep a team hitless for five innings that's something special. He was on top of his game today and we played really good defense behind him. He had 13 ground ball outs and was pretty much in control and matched their starter pitch for pitch. I thought he was outstanding today."

On Adams and his three run homer:

"He's a very good hitter and has had a lot of success in this league. Everybody goes through a tough stretch and this just happens to be his time. It was great to see him come up with a big hit there with runners on. They got a ball up out over the plate and he put a good swing on it. It was a huge lift for us and he's going to get things started for us now I hope."

On the player of Jerico Weitzel:

"He really played solid defense, and he's done a really good job for us that way all season. To see him go up there and get three doubles that was huge for us. There's going to be a battle for the game ball between (him) and Hudson Randall."

On the week ahead:

"We've got a huge week ahead of us, but they're all big games. I keep saying that, and I don't want to sound redundant but (it's true). We play our rival Tuesday night up at their place and it should be a good game. We'll have to be on top of our game to even the season series with them. Then we have Kentucky who is playing very well. We've got a big week ahead of us, but we don't want to worry about Kentucky until we get through with Tuesday."

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