Gator Baseball Tames Tigers, Complete First SEC Sweep

After dropping two to Florida on Saturday, LSU showed up to McKethan Stadium Sunday afternoon in hopes of preventing a sweep.  The Tigers scored early and often, but couldn’t quite keep up with Florida, dropping the final game of the weekend, 11-7.

With the sweep, Florida is now 6-3 in the SEC and 19-9 overall while LSU drops to 3-5-1 in the SEC and to 20-8-1 overall.

Both teams scored at least one run through the first three innings, providing the crowd with an eventful start to the day.

Kade Scivicque, LSU’s junior catcher, opened the game with a two-out RBI single off of junior righty Justin Shafer. Florida responded in the bottom of the first with a two-out bomb from sophomore Harrison Bader to even the score at 1-1.

The starters for both the Gators and the Tigers didn’t last very long, with freshman lefty Kirby Snead replacing Justin Shafer for Florida after two innings, and senior righty Nate Fury taking the mound in relief of junior lefty Zac Person for LSU.

While LSU head coach Paul Mainieri used five relievers Sunday, Gator head coach Kevin O’Sullivan stuck with Snead through a career-high 4.2 innings. The freshman was solid for Florida, allowing only two hits and one walk and he got his first career win as well.

There has been a lot of focus on Florida’s pitching staff this season, but today, it was all about offense.

“I was really proud of the way we bounced back today after we fell behind,” O’Sullivan said. “Every time LSU scored in the first three (innings), we answered in the bottom half. Then, obviously, some walks helped us on the fifth (inning). I’m really pleased on how we played this weekend; it was certainly a great week for us, playing some really, really good teams.”

Six Florida players contributed offensively Sunday, including a career-high three RBI from freshman John Sternagel.

Florida broke the game open with four runs in the third and fifth innings.  In the third, all the runs scored with two outs.  Taylor Gushue had an RBI single, Sternagel drove in a run with a bases loaded walk and Pete Alonso plated two with an RBI hit.

In the fifth, pinch-hitter Mike Fahrman drove home two runs with a single and Richie Martin drove in two more with a double.

The Tigers attempted to rally in the top of the ninth with the Gators up by seven runs, but only managed to plate three on a sacrifice fly by senior third baseman Christian Ibarra and a two-run home run by junior outfielder Chris Sciambra.

“We just need to keep playing like we’re playing,” said freshman first baseman Peter Alonso. “This kind of makes up for the rocky start we had at the beginning of the year. It’s awesome how far we’ve come as a team. Everyone is coming together and doing their jobs. I couldn’t really ask for more.”

Up next, the Gators welcome FAU on Tuesday; you can hear the game live on ESPN 850 WRUF starting at 6:55pm.

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