Rain Delay Routes Florida to a Series Win Against Vanderbilt

The number seven Florida Gator baseball team defeated number five Vanderbilt 6-2 on Saturday clinching the series win. The Gator offense was led by Josh Rivera going 3-for-4 with Cade Kurland and Deric Fabian were 2-for-3 on the day.

Ryan Slater earned the win on the mound, brining his record to 8-0 on the season.

Florida’s usual Saturday starter, Hurston Waldrep has been looking for a bounce back start. His last quality start was almost a month ago on April 15 against Georgia where he allowed one earned run in seven innings. Since then, he hasΒ allowed four or more runs in his last three starts.

He was cruising through the first inning and it looked liked he found his groove. Ten pitches, nine strikes and two strikeouts to sit the Commodores down in order.

And then came the rain. Cade Kurland stepped into the box working a 3-2 count but the umps put the game on pause as the Gators pulled the tarp on the field.

An hour and 16 minute weather delay scratched Waldrep from his usual Saturday start. Once play resumed, Ryan Slater took his place and he answered the call, retiring the first seven batters he faced before walking one in the second inning.

Cade Kurland Delivers a Solo Shot

It would be the Gator second baseman who would send his 15th long ball over the left-center wall to put Florida ahead in the third inning.

Wyatt Langford Flashes the Leather

The freshmen were the talk of both sides of the dugout as each team brought in a run. Vanderbilt was able to tie the ballgame on a solo shot by its freshman RJ Austin in the fifth inning.

That was Slater’s first mistake after holding Vanderbilt hitless until the fifth inning. After the home run, Jonathan Vasetine followed with a double and a sacrifice bunt advanced him to third. What was nearing trouble for the Gators was saved from Langford in left field.

Enrique Bradfield stepped up to the plate as the crowd booed in his presence; he had argued a strike call earlier in the game that sat him down, and the Gator fans didn’t forget it. He smoked a ball to left field that looked like it was going to give Vandy the lead, but Langford made an outstanding catch to preserve the game as the Gator dugout joined the crowd erupting in cheers.

Florida Tallies Four More

After an electric top of the fifth inning for the Gators, they carried that energy to its bats and struck four more runs in the home half.

Luke Heyman singled to left field and a perfectly placed bunt by Deric Fabian advanced Heyman and Fabian had an infield single. Michael Robertson sacrificed to advance both of them and Kurland was hit by the pitch to load the bases. After that stellar catch in left field, Langford delivered a two-RBI double to break the tie and put the Gators up by two. Jac Caglianone followed with a sacrifice fly to score a run and Josh Rivera singled to bring in the fifth run of the game, putting Florida up 5-1.

Slater’s Day, Philip Abner Takes Over

It’s safe to say Slater didn’t think he’d be taking over the starting role on Saturday against the number five team in the country, but he filled Waldrep’s shoes well. Slater cruised through four innings giving up two hits and one run while striking out five. Lefty Philip Abner replaced him in the sixth inning and struck out two.


Fabian Small Ball, Clutch Kurland

Fabian singled to center field in the sixth inning and showed his speed on the basepaths as he stole second base. Roberston grounded out, advancing Fabian and Kurland came up clutch with an RBI single to make it a 6-1 ballgame.

Brandon Neely Closes out the Series Win

Vanderbilt sent home an unearned run in the eighth inning from a walk and a base hit. Chris Maldonado reached on a fielder’s choice but a run scored on a throwing error by Rivera to cut the Gator lead 6-2.

Florida made some noise in the bottom of the eighth inning as they loaded the bases but no one scored, leaving the game in the hands of closer Brandon Neely. He struck out one and recorded two pop ups to end the ninth.

The Gators will go for the series sweep on Sunday.

About Gabriela Vitale

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