The No. 25 ranked Florida Gator baseball team scored four runs in the eighth inning to take the rubber game of a three game series with fourth ranked South Carolina with a 6-5 win on Sunday.
The Orange and Blue had a resilient weekend, with two come from behind wins, but it was not easy. Florida had to rally for its two wins and it overcame a five error day in winning on Sunday.
With the win, Florida improves to 23-13 overall and to an SEC East leading 9-6 in conference play.
The Gators pivotal inning came in the eighth, which began with Florida trailing 4-2. With one out, Taylor Gushue, Braden Mattson and A.J. Puk singled. Peter Alonso ripped a shot into left field off the shortstop’s glove and was credited with a fielder’s choice and RBI as Gushue and Mattson scored to tie the game.
First baseman Zack Powers hit a double off the wall in left field to plate pinch runner Jason Lombardozzi and Buddy Reed followed with a single to left that scored pinch runner Josh Tobias. The Gamecocks hit a solo homer in the eighth but the Gators hung on for the win.
Florida used a total of seven pitchers and limited the Gamecocks to only seven hits. Starter Danny Young ( 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 SO) saved a bases loaded situation in the second and gave up only one unearned run in the first. Florida was able to score two runs in the third off a two-out rally. Reed began things with a single and Harrison Bader reached base on an error. Gushue and Mattson followed with consecutive singles up the middle to score Reed and Bader.
Karsten Whitson (2.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R) replaced Young in the third and retired his first five batters and didn’t give up his first hit until the fifth. A controversial error charged to shortstop Richie Marin allowed the Gamecocks an extra out, which they were able to tie up the game at 2-2 with an RBI groundout. Bobby Poyner ended the inning with a strikeout and continued on with a scoreless sixth.
Carolina would push across two runs in the seventh to go ahead 4-2 before the Gators rallied for the win. Dane Dunning gets his first collegiate win and Eric Hanhold got his second save.
Gator coach Kevin O’Sullivan says his team should feel great with how they played.
“It should give us a lot of confidence moving forward. The thing is, we are only half-way through the conference schedule and we have a lot of baseball left to play, but this is a really really good weekend for us,” says Coach Kevin O’Sullivan.
These two losses at home for South Carolina mark only their second and third of the year. Next up for Florida is the last of eight straight road games when it visits Florida Gulf Coast on Tuesday.
To hear audio from Coach O’Sullivan click below: