Gainesville, FL – The Gators played host to Mississippi State this weekend to open SEC play but the Bulldogs weren’t good house guests. Florida’s hot streak came to an abrupt end on Friday, despite some late game heroics. Due to unfavorable weather conditions for Sunday, the two teams were forced to play a double-header on Saturday, which they split
Sophomore pitcher, Tommy Mace was dealt his first loss on the season. Through the first four innings, he allowed only one baserunner by way of a walk but the Bulldogs managed to get on the board when Justin Foscue cranked a solo shot to the parking lot in the fifth. Mace left the game in the seventh inning after giving up the lead in the sixth.
The Bulldogs added on to their lead in the top of the ninth when Elijah MacNamee connected on a two-run double that put them up 6-2.
Florida continued to fight as they began a rally that was ignited by a leadoff walk by Wil Dalton. Austin Langworthy’s single brought Dalton home and pinch hitter Blake Reese managed an RBI single to cut the deficit to two.
Reese was brought in by Kirby McMullen’s sac fly but this would be as close as Florida would come in their rally bid.
Game two wasn’t much better as the Gators fell behind early and never really threatened. Jack Leftwich fell to 4-1 as he gave up five earned runs, including a pair of home runs.
It wasn’t until the bottom of the sixth, when Miss St. had a five run cushion, that the Gators found the scoreboard. Austin Langworthy brought Wil Dalton home on an RBI single. Pinch hitter, Jordan Butler ended the inning for Florida when he struck out, stranding a runner on base.
The seventh inning saw a minor offensive explosion for the Gators who put up a trifecta before their side was retired. Brady McConnell brought in a pair of RBI’s with a ground-rule double to right field and was later batted in by freshman, Kendrick Calilao. Calilao’s RBI single made the score 7-4, and it remained that way until the final inning.
In the top half of the ninth, Miss State took advantage of an error by Brady McConnell, scoring two runs on the play. Justin Foscue scored the Bulldogs’ final run, unearned.
With a 10-4 deficit, the Gators were facing long odds to rally for a win and in the end, those odds were just too long. Kris Armstrong closed out the scoring for the Gators with a solo homerun and Kevin O’Sullivan’s squad dropped their second game of the series.
On the back-end of the doubleheader and the series, Florida played a strong defensive game to keep from being swept. Tyler Dyson earned the win, while Christian Scott was able to secure the save in the Gators’ 4-2 victory.
In all, Dyson faced twenty-five batters giving up just six hits and a pair of runs in 6.1 innings.
Nelson Maldonaldo bookended Florida’s offensive production, scoring first on a balk and then on a solo homerun in the bottom of the fifth. Other Gators scorers were Wil Dalton and Kris Armstrong.
Up next, Florida will take on Jacksonville University this Tuesday night at 6:00 p.m. at Alfred A. McKethan Stadium.