Gators Rally From Early Deficit to Defeat Columbia 13-5

It was tougher than it was supposed to be.

Columbia gave the top seeded Gators everything they could handle on Friday afternoon as it took a comeback effort for Florida to prevail 13-5.

How the Gators Came back

The game started out on the right note as UF got out to a quick 1-0 lead thanks to a Will Dalton 1-0 lead on a RBI double to left center.

Starter Tommy Mace had a rough day at the ballpark as he gave up three runs over two innings of work.

Thankfully for Florida, Jordan Butler was able to come in and provide some stability. With his team facing a 3-1 deficit, Butler pitched five innings, giving up one run and struck out five.

While the freshman was silencing the Columbia bats, the Gators offense began to make some noise.

Florida scored one run in the third inning on a Dalton RBI double, bringing UF within one run. They had runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out but Columbia was able to escape with two pop outs.

The game changed in a hurry in the fourth inning as the Gators exploded for six runs.

Deacon Liput began the scoring barrage with an RBI double down the right field line to score Nick Horvath, tying the game at three.  Jonathan India followed Liput’s lead with a two run double over the head of Columbia third basemen Matt Cerfolio giving Florida a 5-3 lead they would not relinquish.

The Gators would not step off the gas pedal as Dalton and Blake Reese both hit doubles to score three more runs. After the end of the fourth inning, Florida found themselves up 8-3.

Columbia added a run in the top of the 7th to make it 8-4 but that was closest they were getting the rest of the day.

Florida added two more runs in the bottom half of the 7th. Junior Jonah Girand hit a two-run home run to make it 10-4.

Dalton Domination

Playing in his first NCAA tournament game, Dalton made it a memorable one. The right fielder went 4 for 5 with six RBIs and a home run.

Dalton was a triple away from hitting for the cycle. Dalton like his teammates, struggled at the plate over the lat seven games so he talked about how good it was to get back on track.

“It’s great to get the train back on track,” Dalton said. “Taking it one step at a time. These next couple of weeks you can’t look ahead, you have to take it one game at a time.”

Butler Holding It Down

The tide of the game changed as soon as Butler came into the ballgame.

The freshman entered a tough situation with runners on 2nd and 1st with no outs. He was able to get out of it and give UF five solid innings. At one point, he had thrown four consecutive hitless innings.

“I just wanted to throw strikes and give my defense a chance to make plays,” Butler said. “Your first inning goes a long way into your whole outing so getting in there and throwing strikes and being confident led to how I did today.”

Columbia players mentioned post game that what made Butler effective was his ability to mix his pitches.

“I felt like my slider had more break to it today and I was able to control both sides of the plate,” Butler said. “I felt good.”

Moving On

After taking care of Columbia, the Gators are set to play the winner of the FAU-JU game on Saturday at 7 p.m..

Ace Brady Singer is expected to make the start as he is recovering from a hamstring injury.

The game will be televised on ESPN 3 with a radio broadcast being available on the Gators IMG Sports Network.



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