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Gator Baseball Loses Series Finale To LSU

The Gator baseball team (16-9, 2-4 SEC) had a comfortable lead on the LSU Tigers (18-7 4-2 SEC) on Sunday. It looked like Florida was going to complete a series sweep.

But in the end, the LSU bats woke up as the Tigers scored eight runs over the last two innings to beat Florida 10-6 in order to salvage one game of the three-game series in Gainesville.

Jackson Kowar started for the Gators on the mound Sunday and while not sharp, he did only give up two runs while striking out three in 5.2 innings of work.

Gators take the early lead

The bats began to come alive for the Gators in the third inning. Ryan Larson and Nick Horvath led off with singles. Deacon Liput flied out but that advanced Larson to third.  On a 2-0 count, Horvath stole second and LSU’s catcher, Michael Papierski, threw the ball into centerfield allowing Larson to score for the first run of the game.

In the fourth inning, Nelson Maldanado’s solo homer gave the Gators a 2-0 lead; it was his first home run of the season.

In the fifth inning, the Gators chased LSU starting pitcher Eric Walker. Christian Hicks hit a pop-up blooper to shallow center field to get on base. Larson reached on a four-pitch walk and advanced to second on Nick Horvath’s first sacrifice bunt of the season. With one out and runners on second and third, LSU intentionally walked Liput. After Dalton Guthrie struck out, JJ Schwarz walked to force home a run. Then, Jonathan India hit a two-run single to give the Gators a 5-0 lead.

In the sixth inning, Michael Byrne came on the mound for the Gators with bases loaded and two outs. LSU’s designated hitter, Beau Jordan, managed to bloop a single into left-center to knock in the Tigers first two runs of the game.  In the seventh inning, the Gators would score their final run of the game. Nick Horvath reached on a four-pitch walk and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Schwarz.

Tigers comeback

The Tigers would take their first lead of the series in the eighth inning when the Gators were just five outs away from finishing the weekend sweep. Greg Deichmann singled and with one out, Josh Smith hit a two-run homer. Jake Slaughter was hit by a pitch and Beau Jordan then hit a two-run homer off of Frank Rubio to tie the game. Another LSU batter was hit by a pitch and Cole Freeman would follow with a two-run homer to give the Tigers an 8-6 lead. The Gators went through five pitchers in the inning.

LSU would continue to make connections at the plate in the ninth. Deichmann led off the inning with a double. Then, Watson laid down a bunt that Florida pitcher Tyler Dyson threw away down the first base line allowing Deichmann to cross the plate for a 9-6 lead. Watson would score on a Josh Smith sacrifice fly to close the scoring.

Looking ahead

With that loss, Florida is now 16-9 overall and 2-4 in the SEC. The Gators’ next game is Tuesday in Jacksonville against FSU.

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