Florida's Colby Halter (5) dives for third on a three-run triple during the third inning of the team's NCAA college baseball game against North Florida on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)

Gator Baseball Takes Game 1 Against Samford Bulldogs

The Florida Gator baseball team returned to Florida Ballpark for Game 1 of their series against the Samford Bulldogs. and came away with an 8-4 victory behind the bats of Jud Fabian and Sterlin Thompson.

Florida ace Tommy Mace took the mound for the Gators on Friday night, racking up a career-high night 11 strikeouts.

Gators on the Mound

Florida’s Friday night starter, Mace, secured his second victory of the season. The right-hander was nearly flawless pitching for six scoreless innings. Mace allowed just three hits.

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Gator pitchers Brandon Sproat and Hunter Mink each took the mound for a little over an inning. Sproat allowed two hits and two runs and struck out three batters. Mink ended the night giving p a hit and two runs while striking out one batter.

Florida Offense Heating Up

After a scoreless first inning, Florida shook off the dust and got the hits rolling.  With Colby Halter, Kris Armstrong and Thompson on base, Florida’s second baseman Jordan Carrion singled to right field to drive in two runs that gave the Gators a 2-0 heading into the third.

In the bottom of the third, Fabian homered to left field putting Florida up 3-0. Fabian ended the night with two hits and an RBI.

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Armstrong continued to have a solid night at the plate in the bottom of the fourth. An RBI triple to right field allowed Thompson to score. Halter followed up with a single to the left side getting Armstrong across the plate. Armstrong went one for three at the plate while recording an RBI.

Jacob Young continued his hitting streak with an RBI double down the left-field line that gave Florida a 6-0 lead. Young extended his hitting streak to 24 games.

Thompson continued to show a strong presence at the plate late in the fifth. An RBI triple down right-field followed by an error brought Jordan Butler and Thompson home to pad the Gator lead.

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The Bulldogs stayed quiet until the top of the seventh. Tyler McManus homered to right field to give the Bulldogs their first run of the night.

Offensively, the rest of the game belonged to Samford. The Bulldogs’ Blake Bortak put Samford in the game 8-2 after scoring on a wild pitch and then would plate two more unearned runs to make the final score 8-4.

Up Next For Florida

Florida and Samford return for Game 2 on Saturday with the opening pitch set for 4 p.m. The Gators’ Jack Leftwich is expected to get the start for Florida on the mound.

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