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Florida Baseball Takes Opening SEC Series Despite A Sunday Loss

The Florida baseball falls to 2-1 in SEC play after losing 9-3 at home to Arkansas Sunday afternoon.?? Florida is now 13-7 overall while Arkansas improves to 9-7.? The loss also breaks a seven game winning streak but despite that, Gator coach Kevin?O?Sullivan was happy to win the series.

?We won the series; that?s the most important thing. I?m disappointed on how we played today, but it was kind of weird game. I was disappointed in the way we started on the mound; the very first play of the game, they hit a hard ground ball to first base and we don?t cover first, we?re late getting over there, not really into it. We didn?t command the ball as well as we needed to. It was just disappointing; we gave up four runs in the first two (innings), and obviously we need to be better than that.?

The Razorbacks made quick work of Florida?s starter, freshman AJ Puk, who was knocked out in the second inning.?? In?the top of the first,?a routine ground ball to first from Arkansas leadoff batter Andrew Benintendi turned into the series? first error when the throw to first extended past the reach of Puk?s glove, who was covering the bag.? Benintendi advanced to second on the play, and would eventually score the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly.??

The Razorbacks matched their first inning run with three more in the top of the second.? Starting catcher Jake Wise took a 1-2 pitch to left field for a homer.? What appeared to be a fly ball ended up over the fence as a result of a strong breeze blowing out toward left field.?? It was the first homer allowed by Florida since February 23rd when the Gators played at Miami. Puk also allowed a two run double by Brian Anderson and the Razorbacks took a lead they would never lose.???

Sunday afternoon?s game marked the return Florida?s sophomore centerfielder Harrison Bader from suspension. In his first plate appearance of 2014, Bader grounded out to short to end the first inning.? Bader would later earn his first hit of the season with a single in the bottom of the fourth, extending his hit streak to 10 games dating back to 2013.? Bader finished the day going 2 for 4 with one run scored.

Much like Arkansas? opening run in the first, the Gators reached the scoreboard in the bottom of the second on a sacrifice fly.? With runners on second and third, Justin Shafer hit a sacrifice fly to right that scored Taylor Gushue.? This was the fourth RBI on the year for Shafer.?

On the mound Dane Dunning relieved Puk but there was more trouble for Florida in the fourth inning.??After walking the first two hitters he faced in the inning, those hitters scored on a passed ball and a squeeze bunt to give Arkansas a 6-1 lead.???

Florida showed a sign of life in the fourth?when?Bader?singled.? Taylor Gushue followed?with a hit and Braden Mattson doubled them both home.??Florida had the bases loaded with just one out in the inning, but failed to convert.? The rally was killed with ground ball out from Buddy Reed that turned into a double play.

The Razorbacks put Florida away in the ninth when they added three insurance runs.? For Arkansas, reliever Jacob Stone earned his third win on the mound, staying undefeated on the season.?

The Gators now look ahead to in state rival FSU who they will face Tuesday night. ??

Audio?from the game can be heard below.

Kevin O’Sullivan

Braden Mattson

Harrison Bader

Harrison Bader

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