The Florida baseball team emerged victorious in the Sunday afternoon series finale against Missouri with a final score of 6-5. The Gators capped off a series sweep of the Tigers and took a two-game lead in the SEC with an extra-innings walkoff by freshman outfielder Ryan Larson.
The Gators got an early lead in the bottom of the first with an RBI ground-rule double by junior Taylor Gushue to bring home sophomore Richie Martin. Junior Braden Mattson followed up with an RBI single, bringing the Gators to a 2-0 lead.
Florida had sophomore lefty Danny Young start on the mound, who allowed three runs in his 1.2 innings of work. The Tigers took a 3-2 lead in the second inning with an RBI single by Jake Ring and a two-run double by Eric Anderson. Sophomore righty Eric Hanhold relieved Young and ended the inning for the Tigers.
The Gators were quick to respond in the bottom of the inning with an RBI by freshman John Sternagel to plate freshman and birthday boy Buddy Reed.
The box score remained uneventful, until the fourth inning when a leadoff single by Kendall Keeton sparked another pitching change for Florida, who brought in A.J. Puk to relieve Hanhold, who pitched 1.1 innings and allowed only two hits.
The Tigers took the lead again during the top of the fifth inning when Dylan Kelly had an RBI-double to left. This spurred another pitching change for coach Kevin O’Sullivan, who brought in junior Justin Shafer to take over for Puk. Shafer ended the inning with a strike-out and a ground-out to keep Missiouri’s lead at 4-3.
Entering the sixth inning, the Tigers added another run to the board when a throwing error on third-basemen Sternagel allowed Anderson to score.
The Gators were determined to fight back, and in the bottom of the sixth inning a pair of RBI from outfielder Harrison Bader and Mattson tied the game at 5-5.
This score held through several pitching changes and in the 10th inning the Gators decided enough was enough when freshman Ryan Larson knocked home the game-winning run with a single up the middle off Missouri’s Peter Fairbanks.
This makes the Gator’s eighth straight win against an SEC opponent pushing their record to 15 games over .500, with a solid two-game lead over Alabama in the SEC standings. This will be critical as the Gators face the Crimson Tide this weekend in a three game series.
For audio on Sunday’s game, click the links below: