Florida RHP Brandon Sproat put together the best outing of his career when the Gators needed it most Tuesday night.
Facing elimination in the SEC Tournament opener against South Carolina, Sproat threw into the ninth inning and flirted with a no-hitter into the seventh inning despite the game starting roughly six hours late due to heavy rains in Hoover. The Gators defeated USC for the third time in six days, this time by a 2-1 final score.
The Gators finally broke onto the scoreboard in the fourth inning as Josh Rivera doubled to right with two outs and was followed by an infield single from Jac Caglianone. An errant throw allowed Caglianone to advance to second and gave Rivera the chance to score. Rivera, hustling all the way, scored easily to put the Gators ahead 1-0.
Sproat pitched all the way into the ninth and even recorded the first out without incident, though a pair of singles put the tying run at third base with one out and spelled the end of Sproat’s night. Ryan Slater allowed one of the inherited runners to score, but limited the damage and gave Florida an opportunity to walk it off.
In the bottom of the tenth, Ty Evans hit a one-out double on an 0-2 pitch before Kendrick Calilao singled up the middle. Calilao advanced to second on a poor throw to the plate but Evans was held at third leaving a pair in scoring position with one down.
Colby Halter hit a liner to shallow center and Evans touched up, trying to score. The throw easily beat Evans and should have resulted in an out, but the USC catcher dropped the ball as Evans slid in for the winning run.
Sproat threw a career high 9.1 innings, allowing just four hits and one run while striking out seven. He also threw a new career best 110 pitches.
Ryan Slater shut the door on the Gamecocks over the final 1.2 innings to pick up the win.
- Sproat: 9.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, BB, 7 K, 110 TP
- Langford: 2-4
- Calilao: 1-1
- W: Ryan Slater (5-3)
- L: Cade Austin (5-2)
Florida advances out of the single-elimination part of the tournament into the double-elimination portion. Florida will face Texas A&M in a game that is presently scheduled for 5:30 PM Wednesday.