#2 Florida opened SEC play with a trip to South Carolina. The Gators clinched the series with a 3-2 victory on Sunday. Florida took game one on Friday by a 7-3 score, but the Gamecocks rallied for a 15-7 thumping of the Gators on Saturday. Florida is now 18-4 overall and 2-1 in SEC action while South Carolina falls to 13-7, 1-2.
FLORIDA 7, S. CAROLINA 3
Columbia, SC– The Gators opened SEC play with a 7-3 win over South Carolina on Friday night.
Starting pitcher Brady Singer pitched six innings for Florida to improve to 5-0 on the season. Singer allowed just one run on two hits while striking out seven. Closer Michael Byrne pitched the eighth and ninth frames for the Gators to earn his fourth save of the year.
Florida fell behind in the first inning when LT Tolbert singled up the middle to score TJ Hopkins. The Gators came back in the fourth, taking the lead with a Blake Reese single that scored JJ Schwarz and Jonathan India.
Florida added a run in the fifth as Deacon Liput hit an RBI single that scored Nelson Maldonado. The Gators added two more in the sixth inning with a Maldonado double that scored Austin Langworthy and Wil Dalton.
Carolina wouldn’t go down quietly, though as they put a run up in the seventh and eighth innings.
India hit a two-run, no doubt homer to left center to add some insurance to the Gators lead in the ninth before Byrne closed the door for good.
W: Singer (5-0)
L: Adam Hill (2-2)
S: Byrne (4)
CAROLINA 15, FLORIDA 7
Columbia, SC– The Gators fell in the second game of the series by a 15-7 score on Saturday. Florida starting pitcher Jackson Kowar was hit early as South Carolina took a 3-0 lead in the first inning on two home runs by Noah Campbell and Madison Stokes. Kowar also allowed a run to score on a balk in the third inning that built the Gamecocks’ lead to 4-0.
Florida fought back all game but never could get all the way back. Each time Florida closed the gap a little, Carolina would swing it right back open.
The Gators got one back in the fourth and the sixth, but South Carolina added a five-spot to the scoreboard in the bottom half of the sixth inning.
The Gators again fought back, getting to within three at 9-6 thanks to a pair of homers by Nick Horvath and Wil Dalton, but a six run eighth inning pretty much put the game away. Jonathan India hit a solo homer in the ninth to arrive at the final score of 15-7.
Kowar pitched five gutty innings allowing five runs (all earned) while striking out five and walking three.
Wil Dalton went 2-5 with a homer and three RBI and scored two runs in the game from the leadoff spot.
W: Cody Morris (4-1)
L: Kowar (3-1)
FLORIDA 3, S. CAROLINA 2
Columbia, SC– The Gators took the series with a 3-2 win in the finale on Sunday. Florida scored first for the first time in the series, and never relinquished the lead.
Wil Dalton homered to lead the game off for Florida and give starting pitcher Tyler Dyson some early run support.
Florida added two more runs in the fourth inning as JJ Schwarz hit a solo home run and Deacon Lip hit a sacrifice fly to center that brought Jonathan India home.
South Carolina would score twice (once in the fourth and once in the sixth) before the game went final.
Dyson pitched five innings in earning his fourth win of the season allowing both runs and striking out five. Michael Byrne pitched 2.1 innings only allowing one hitter on base via a walk and earned his fifth save of the year, and second in this series.
India finished the game 2-3 with a walk and a run scored for the Gators.
W: Dyson (4-1)
L: Ridge Chapman (1-2)
S: Byrne (5)
Florida is now 18-4 on the season and 2-1 in SEC play. The Gators will face Jacksonville in Gainesville on Tuesday in midweek action before taking on the Arkansas Razorbacks in conference play this weekend.
SEC EAST STANDINGS (THROUGH MARCH 18):
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