Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan. [AP Photo/Matt Stamey]

Gators Baseball Loses First Weekend Series, Falls At Missouri

The No. 6 Florida Gators lost their first weekend series of the year Saturday when the Missouri Tigers held on for a 4-3 win at Taylor Stadium in Columbia.

Wild pitching by Liam Peterson and a slow offense caused the Gators to drop to 17-13 overall and 6-5 in the SEC and  on the verge of being swept by the Tigers (14-18, 3-8 SEC), who entered the series 1-8 against SEC teams.

Gators’ Wild Card Pitcher

Peterson (1-4) started with a 21-pitch first inning that brought home two Tigers. Peterson allowed just two hits in the first inning, but Missouri’s small-ball approach put two runners in scoring position. A wild pitch by Peterson scored the first run of the afternoon, while a single scored the second Missouri run. Peterson then settled into the game.

The freshman threw four straight innings that were less than 15 pitches. In that stretch, Peterson retired 11 straight batters and had six strikeouts.

In the sixth, Peterson had more trouble, allowing two more runs. Another RBI single and wild pitch caused Peterson’s third and fourth earned runs. He had four wild pitches Saturday and all four of the Tigers’ runs occurred with two outs.

Peterson made a career-high 100 pitches in striking out a high of nine batters. Peterson looked like the dominant pitcher the Gators believe he could be. Peterson’s final line was 6 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 10p TP.

https://twitter.com/GatorsBB/status/1776720820339126723

Missed Opportunities

Gator batters reached based on the first at-bat on four of the first six innings Saturday. Of those four innings, the Gators scored a run in just one, on a Jac Caglianone home run in the sixth.

Caglianone’s two-run home run, his 15th of the season, gave the Gators the lead, but would be their last runs of the game. That was Caglianone’s only hit of the game, but the junior from Tampa got on base in the seventh. The seventh inning Saturday was the biggest missed opportunity for Florida.

Sophomore Landon Russell tripled with one out, just 90 feet away from tying the game at three. After Jaylen Guy was hit by a pitch, Cade Kurland struck out swinging. Caglianone was then walked intentionally to load the bases for Ty Evans.

Entering this at-bat, Evans was 0-for-7 with five strikeouts, four of them in Friday’s 2-1 loss. On a full count, Evans took a pitch inside that could’ve been called a ball, but the home-plate umpire rung him to end the inning.

An inning later, the Gators left runners on second and third. Russell’s line out with two down ended the eighth. The Gators had eight runners left on base.

Up Next

The teams will play the series finale at 2 p.m. Sunday (SEC Network+, ESPN 98.1-FM/850-AM WRUF). Caglianone (3-0) is the expected starter for the Gators while Missouri has not named their starter.

About Nick VanZandt

Nick VanZandt is a senior journalism student at the University of Florida and this is his third semester working for WRUF.

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