Hurston Waldrep starts his first SEC game against Alabama with the Gators. Photo via @GatorsBB twitter.

Florida Baseball Drops Finale With Alabama

The Florida Gator baseball team dropped the second game of its double header 6-3 against Alabama on Friday. Though they did lose, the Gators won their first SEC series of the season.

“We’re never satisfied… we’re looking to go out there and compete and win every single game,” Gator catcher BT Riopelle said.

Hurston Waldrep (3-1) started on the mound for the Gators as Grayson Hitt (3-1) toed the rubber for Alabama.

Exchanging Runs, Alabama Leads

Waldrep came out of the gate throwing 98 miles an hour but struggled to find his command. He issued a walk to the first two batters he faced and a single by Drew Williamson scored the first run. A passed ball would plate Ed Johnson and a single by Andrew Pinckney would put Alabama up 3-0 early.

But just like in the first game of the double header, Florida quickly bounced back.  Michael Robertson led off the Gators home half with a base hit. Cade Kurland would then hit into a fielder’s choice but ended up on second from an error on the shortstop.

Josh Rivera, who homered in the first game, blasted another to left field to make it a one run game.

Alabama extended their lead 4-2 in the second on another long ball, this time by Tommy Seidel.

Starting Pitchers Final Frames

It was a quiet ballgame for awhile as neither side could capitalize on their baserunners. Waldrep settled in after the first two innings but issuing four walks kept him from finding a true rhythm.

Brandon Neely came into relieve Waldrep to start to seventh. Waldrep pitched six innings, allowing seven hits and four runs, three earned, with four walks and seven strikeouts while throwing 102 pitches, 65 of which were strikes.

Hitt, who has raised his draft stock for the ’23 MLB draft, was able to limit the Florida bats after the second inning in his outing. He pitched 4.2 innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs with four walks and five strikeouts in 91 pitches, 50 of which were strikes.

Florida Can’t Crawl Back

Florida was able to crawl one run closer in the seventh. Luke Heyman came in to pinch hit for Dale Thomas and looped a ball down the right field line for a single. Richie Schiekofer then pinch ran for Heyman and a single by Halter would place runners on the corners. Michael Robertson singled for an RBI to score Schiekofer and the Gators were one run closer to tying this game.

And Condron Ballpark would see another ball leave the yard in the eighth. An error by Rivera at short stop would put Pinckney at first. Caden Rose then launched a ball to deep left field for a two run no doubter. Alabama extended its lead to  6-3.

The Gators weren’t able to tally another run and Alabama was able to salvage one game in the series.  Though they lost, Florida still won the series and look forward to a tough midweek match up against Florida State on Tuesday. They follow that game with their first SEC road test at Ole Miss on March 24.

About Gabriela Vitale

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