Coming off a series sweep in Athens against Georgia, expectations were low as Florida faced the nation’s number two ranked team, Arkansas.
After evening the series in Friday’s second game behind a solid effort from RHP Brandon Sproat, the Gators clinched the series with a 9-7 win in Saturday’s finale.
The Gators struck first in the third inning when Wyatt Langford singled up the middle to score Colby Halter. The next batter, BT Riopelle then smoked a three-run homer to give the Gators a 4-0 lead through the first third of the contest.
As gas been an issue for the last two seasons, Arkansas rebounded quickly, putting up a four-spot in the top of the fourth, chasing starting pitcher Brandon Neely, who made his first career start.
Langford crushed a three-run shot in the fifth to put Florida back up by three runs at 7-4, but once again, Arkansas struck for a pair of runs in the top of the sixth to close the gap to just one.
After a pair of scoreless innings for Florida, the Razorbacks pushes the tying run across in the eighth by way of a solo homer.
This time, it was the Gators turn to respond. In the bottom half of the frame, Josh Rivera led off with a bunt single and moved to second on an errant throw. Mac Guscette followed with a sacrifice bunt before a sac fly from Deric Fabian scored Rivera. Two batters later, Jud Fabian singled to left to score Halter and put Florida on top 9-7.
Neely totaled 3.2 innings pitched, allowing five hits and four earned runs. Ryan Slater threw another 3.2 and gave up three runs (one earned) before turning it over to Blake Purnell to close out the final 1.2 innings.
The Gators are 21-11 overall and improved to 5-7 in SEC action. The team will travel to Tallahassee on Tuesday to take on the rival Seminoles. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 PM.