The Florida baseball team clinched at least a share of the SEC regular season title Thursday night in Knoxville. The Orange and Blue defeated the Volunteers of Tennessee 6-5 in a game that went to 11 innings. This marks the 22nd Eastern Division title as well and the 13th overall conference championship for the Gators.
Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan is pleased with how his team has battled this season.
“I’m really proud of what we were able to accomplish. Anytime you win 20 games in the best league in the country, it says a lot about how hard your kids have worked throughout the season. There’s been no quit in this team throughout the year and they always seem to find a way to get a W. At times, it’s not the prettiest in the world, but, in the end, a win’s a win.”
Logan Shore provided yet another quality start on the hill for Florida, going 5.1 innings allowing just three runs to score. Ryan Harris earned his third win of the year in relief, dealing just one full inning striking out one as well.
After giving up one run in the first, Florida pulled ahead with a three run third. Freshmen Peter Alonso got the Gators on the board with a three run homer to deep left. Alonso finished the day 2-5 with three RBIs.
Tennessee scored the next four runs, giving them a 5-4 lead headed into the ninth. Florida however would rally. Harrison Bader proved to be the difference in this game, driving in the game-tying run in the ninth and then scoring the winning run in the top of the 11th. He singled, stole second, and went to third on a throwing error by the catcher and scored when the ball was bobbled in the outfield. He finished the game with a team high three hits including the game’s most important RBI.
Kirby Snead finished off the Volunteers, picking up his first save of the season. Snead allowed just one man to reach in the 11th, striking out one as well.
Florida now looks ahead to Friday and Saturday matchups in Knoxville. You can listen to the Gator IMG Sports Network where Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell will have the call at 5:55pm Friday and 12:55pm on Saturday.