Photo by Anna Carrington

Gator Baseball Falls in Series Opener Against Razorbacks

In the first game of the final series of the regular season, the Florida Gator baseball team falls to number one ranked Arkansas in a 6-1 road defeat.  The Razorbacks closed the door on the game in the bottom of the eighth with a three-run home-run from right fielder Cayden Wallace. Florida now sits at 17-11 in SEC play and maintains only a sliver of hope to clinch the SEC East title this weekend that would require two wins against Arkansas and two losses by Tennessee to share the title with the Volunteers.

Frozen at the Plate:

The Gators struck first in the second inning with a solo home-run from first baseman Kendrick Calilao. Calilao has been electric at the plate, heating up at just the right time as the post season approaches.  But that was it for the scoring for the Gators as they recorded just three hits on the night with Nathan Hickey’s two-out single in the third inning marking the final hit of the game for the Gators. The three hits stamp a new season low for the team.

Home-run Happy Hogs

Wallace led the charge for the Razorbacks at the plate, taking advantage of both starting pitcher Tommy Mace and relief pitcher Christian Scott. Wallace went 3 for 4 with two home runs plus four RBI’s. Mace was quickly worked, accumulating 100 pitches by the fifth inning and his earlier than expected departure led to bullpen appearances from Trey Van Der Weide, Christian Scott, and Jordan Butler. Mace was credited with the loss, but battled his entire appearance and was able to work out of multiple jams to keep Arkansas from extending the lead.

The Gators were unable to rally, down just two runs heading into the seventh inning. A key reason keeping the Gators at bay was the top relief pitcher in the country, Kevin Kopps. Kopps recorded the final nine outs of the night with ease, not allowing a single hit or walk. He recorded five strikeouts and improved his ERA to .76.

Florida will return back to action Friday night to try to take game two of the series. Hunter Barco will take the mound with first pitch set for 8 p.m.

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