#2 Florida earned an important three game series victory against #4 Arkansas. The Razorbacks won the first game, but the Florida bats came alive in the second and third games. Arkansas topped Florida 6-3 on Friday, giving Brady Singer his first loss of the season. Florida exacted revenge on Saturday, exploding for 17 runs and giving Arkansas their worst loss since 2011. On Sunday, a pair of two-run homers and a dominant relief outing by Michael Byrne propelled the Gators past Arkansas 5-4.
ARKANSAS 6, FLORIDA 3
Gainesville, FL– The Razorbacks took game one of the series with a 6-3 victory.
Arkansas tacked on a trio of runs in the second inning as Heston Kjerstad hit an RBI double to score Dominic Fletcher. The Razorbacks scored two more runs after Carson Shaddy ripped a liner that bounced off Florida pitcher Brady Singer and went into left field.
Arkansas added two runs in the fourth highlighted by Fletcher’s solo homer to right.
The Gators added a pair of scores in the bottom of the fourth as Deacon Liput hit a two-run shot to right center to close the gap to 5-2.
Both teams would add one more tally to the scoreboard on solo homers to finish the game. Kjerstad put Arkansas up 6-2 in the sixth while Wil Dalton hit his tenth of the year for Florida in the seventh.
Jonathan India went 2-3 with a walk and a run scored. Brady Singer earned his first loss of the season, but battled through seven innings of work. Singer’s final line read: 7 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 7 K, 2 BB.
W: Blaine Knight (4-0)
L: Singer (5-1)
S: Matt Cronin (4)
FLORIDA 17, ARKANSAS 3
Gainesville, FL– Florida rebounded from the series opening loss against Arkansas with a big 17-2 win. Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan switched his lineup a bit as Deacon Liput ledoff the order. Wil Dalton moved to fourth in the lineup thanks to the power he’s displayed with 10 homers entering the game.
The change appears to have worked. Liput finished the game 4-5 with a walk, 3 runs, and 3 RBI. Dalton went 2-5 including a double that turned into a run thanks to an error by Arkansas LF Heston Kjerstad.
The Gators jumped all over the Razorbacks from the onset of the contest as Jonathan India hit a grand slam in the bottom of the first inning.
Despite that being all the Gators needed, they didn’t settle and the bats were especially hot.
Florida added two runs in the second, six runs in the third, and five in the sixth.
Jackson Kowar pitched a solid six innings, allowing only four hits and two earned runs. Kowar struck out six but walked four.
Florida’s bullpen pitched three scoreless innings with Kirby McMullen and Connor Churchill combining for the effort.
The big lead allowed the Gators to play some of the younger players in the final few innings. 3B Brady Smith, LF Shane Shifflett, C Cal Greenfield al saw action in the field and each got a turn at bat. Jonah Girand got to see action at first base.
W: Kowar (4-1)
L: Isiah Campbell (2-3)
FLORIDA 5, ARKANSAS 4
Gainesville, FL– The Florida Gators earned the series victory over Arkansas on Sunday with a 5-4 victory.
Florida used a pair of two-run bombs by JJ Schwarz and Nelson Maldonado to overcome ten hits from the Razorbacks.
The Gators got on the board first in the second inning when Blake Reese hit a sacrifice fly to center that scored Jonathan India.
Arkansas responded with back-to-back solo homers by 1B Jared Gates and DH Evan Lee to take a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning.
In the bottom half of the fourth, Schwarz connected to again put Florida on top. That lead would be short lived however, as Arkansas CF Dominic Fletcher hit a sacrifice fly to score Heston Kjerstad in the fifth to force another tie.
Tyler Dyson pitched four innings for the Gators allowing five hits and 3 runs. Dyson walked four and struck out four as well.
Michael Byrne threw 3.2 innings out of the bullpen and entered to a bases loaded jam with one out, but retired the next two Razorbacks on three pitches. Byne had thrown 26.2 innings without allowing a run, but that streak ended in ninth after he allowed consecutive doubles, but recovered to retire the final three hitters of the game and earn his first victory of the season.
W: Byrne (1-0)
L: Kacey Murphy (3-1)
Florida improves to 21-5 on the season and 4-2 in SEC play. The Gators will face Florida State in Jacksonville on Tuesday before returning to conference action against Vanderbilt at home this weekend.