Senior centerfielder Matt den Dekker collected five hits and four RBI Sunday to lead sixth-ranked Florida to a 13-6 win over ninth-ranked LSU at McKethan Stadium.
The Gators improved 31-11 overall, 15-6 in the SEC, while LSU is 32-13 overall and 11-10 in conference play.
“This was tough weekend for us against a great team,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “It’s hard to win when you’re playing from behind as much as we were the whole series. We have to move forward – there’s still a lot of baseball left, including three very important conference weekends.”
Florida starter Brian Johnson worked 6.1 innings for the win Sunday and helped his own cause with a grand slam homer to highlight a five-run Gators fourth inning.
The Gators grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first inning against LSU right-hander Matty Ott when shortstop Nolan Fontana doubled and den Dekker launched his seventh homer of the season.
Florida extended the lead to 5-0 in the third on a three-run homer by third baseman Austin Maddox, his 13th dinger of the year.
LSU responded with a run in the fourth on back-to-back doubles by centerfielder Leon Landry and leftfielder Alex Edward.
The Gators erupted for five runs in the bottom of the fourth, as the rally was highlighted by Johnson’s grand slam – his second homer of the season – off of LSU reliever Daniel Bradshaw.
Ott (1-2), making his first career start, was charged with the loss as he allowed nine runs on eight hits in 3.2 innings with two walks and three strikeouts.
Johnson improved to 4-2 on the year as he limited the Tigers to two earned runs on nine hits in 6.1 innings with no walks and four strikeouts.
The Tigers narrowed the gap to 10-6 in the eighth inning as rightfielder Mikie Mahtook’s two-run single highlighted the rally, but the Gators responded with three runs in the bottom of the frame. den Dekker contributed an RBI single and first baseman Preston Tucker added a run-scoring double to spark the outburst.
LSU returns to action at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when the Tigers play host to Southeastern Louisiana in Alex Box Stadium.