Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan made a pair of moves that put his team in position to win a baseball game on Sunday.
After watching his Sunday starter allow five walks in just four innings of work followed by Ryan Cabarcas allowing a pair of runs while only recording an out, O’Sullivan gave the ball to Christian Scott. Two days earlier, Scott faced the same Tennessee lineup and gave up two earned runs in two innings of work.
The trust in his reliever was well placed as Scott entered the game and immediately struck out two to end the inning. Scott finished the game and, despite entering trailing 6-3, recorded his first win of the 2021 campaign.
The other key decision from the skipper was deciding to pinch hit for freshman Jordan Carrion in the eighth inning with two on and one out. Kris Armstrong responded by belting a 0-1 pitch well beyond the wall in left field to put the Gators ahead by the final score of 7-6.
How It Happened:
Once again, Florida struck first, plating a run in the top of the second inning on Colby Halter’s ground rule double scored Jordan Butler.
As they did all series, Tennessee immediately came back and scored. Hunter Barco lost much of his command and walked three batters around a double for the tying run. Barco also struck out the side to show his wild inconsistency.
The Gators jumped on top 3-1 on a two-run shot from Jacob Young in the top of the fourth.
Following the same refrain as the previous two nights, the Volunteers immediately responded in the bottom half of the frame. Hunter Barco walked Liam Spence, but the ball got away on a wild pitch, which allowed Logan Steenstra to score from third. The next batter, Max Ferguson, singled to center, but a poor play by Jud Fabian allowed the ball to get past him to allow a run to score while Ferguson ended up at third base. Ferguson scored two pitches later on an RBI groundout by Jake Rucker. The Vols took a 4-3 lead into the fifth.
Ryan Cabarcas entered the game in the fifth and promptly gave up a two run homer to Connor Pavalony to extend the Vols’ lead to 6-3. Christian Scott entered with one on and one out.
Florida would begin chipping away at the lead as Kirby McMullen added an RBI groundout to third to his ledger, scoring Young.
The eighth inning started out innocently enough with a Jordan Butler strikeout. Josh Rivera followed with a single while Colby Halter added a double to put two in scoring position with one out. O’Sullivan then opted to pinch hit for the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, Carrion. It worked as Armstrong deposited the second pitch he saw well over the fence to out Florida ahead 7-6.
Pitching with a lead seemed rather comfortable for Scott as he completed the final two innings allowing just a walk ( in the 8th) and a single (in the 9th) allowed.
- W: Scott (1-2)
- L: Sean Hunley (4-2)
- Armstrong: 1-1, HR, 3 RBI
- Young: 2-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
- Halter: 2-4, 2 2B, RBI, R
- Rivera: 2-5, 2B, 2 R
- Butler: 2-5, 2B, R
- Scott: 4.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 6 K, 1 BB
The Gators will return to Florida Ballpark to face rival Florida State on Tuesday. The Seminoles at 16-11 on the season and defeated the Gators in Tallahassee 10-2 on March 16.
*Florida State’s road contest against Louisville on Sunday had not been completed at the time of publishing. Their record does not indicate the result of that game b