SEC Baseball
Brandon Sproat pitches the ball in the Gators baseball game against LSU last weekend. Photo courtesy of Leslie White.

Gators Baseball Drops the Series to the Commodores

Florida Gators (21-14, 5-9) Baseball dropped game two to the Vanderbilt Commodores (25-9, 7-7) in an 8-6 loss on Saturday. They will have a chance to avoid the sweep on Sunday. This game starts at 1 p.m.

BT Riopelle Does His Best to Keep the Gators in it

For the second straight day, the Gators would score first against the Commodores. And in the same fashion as yesterday’s game as well. Gators catcher BT Riopelle came to the plate to lead off the second inning and would start it off with a bang over the right-field wall to take a 1-0 lead. This would be the only run of the inning, but there were more to come in the fourth.

To begin the fourth, Wyatt Langford hit a single putting himself on first base. This brought BT Riopelle back to the plate where he would show his strength one more time. This time he hit a no-doubt homerun over the left-field wall, which gave the Gators a 3-0 lead.

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Shortly after, Josh Rivera copied Riopelle’s plate appearance by hitting another homerun to extend their lead to 4-0.

While the Gators were up 4-0 at one point in this game, heading into the seventh they found themselves down 4-6. Florida began this inning with the first two batters getting out and then a single. This let BT Riopelle enter the batter’s box with a chance to tie the game. And he would do just that. With a 3-0 count in his favor,  Riopelle swung at a fastball down the middle to grab his third homerun of the night. This put him at a total of five RBI on the night.

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Even with this type of performance from Riopelle, the Gators could not find a way to win this game. As a unit, the Gators offense had seven hits and six walks. And four of the hits were homeruns, three from BT Riopelle, but it was just not enough.

Same Story For Gators Pitching

Brandon Sproat got the Saturday start against Vanderbilt. Sproat pitched through the first three innings without giving up any runs. However, this changed with the first batter in the fourth. Sproat threw a first-pitch fastball that would not stay in the park after it left his hand. This cut their lead to 4-1 over the Commodores. Vanderbilt scored one more in the fifth inning before taking the lead in the sixth. With two outs in the inning and bases loaded, Vanderbilt’s Enrique Bradfield Jr. hit a base-clearing triple over the right fielder’s glove giving them a 6-4 lead over the Gators. With that, Sproat’s night ended and Tyler Nesbitt’s began.

Nesbitt got the final out of the sixth inning and got one in the seventh, then Florida turned to Blake Purnell for the second night in a row. Upon entering, Purnell instantly gave up a run in the seventh on a single to left field to give Vanderbilt the 7-6 lead over Florida. He barely got out of the seventh after a tough catch from Wyatt Langford got him out of a bases-loaded situation.

Then, Ryan Slater got the call to replace Purnell to enter the eighth. In this inning, Vanderbilt scored one more run to finalize the score at 8-6. In the end, Florida pitching walked seven total batters and had 11 hits allowed. And despite having the lead and even tying it late, it could not find a way to win this game. This night has been a common story for the Gators all year long.

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