After a back-and-forth battle between the Florida Gators and Texas A&M Aggies, both teams had mustered just about all the offense they could. The Aggies had just one frame left to overcome a 1-run deficit, and it was up to closer Brandon Neely to secure the Gators’ win.
Need I say more?
No. 4 Florida (37-10, 15-7 SEC) defeated Texas A&M 26-20, 9-13 SEC) 6-5 Friday night to take game one of the weekend roadtrip.
Florida got off to a quiet start in the first, passing things over to Friday starting pitcher Brandon Neely in the bottom frame.
Neely faced some trouble early after allowing two TAMU batters on base before stranding both.
The Gators were able to convert runs in the top of the second inning after fifth-year catcher BT Riopelle plated two with a home run. After one inning, Florida led 2-0.
Sproat logged another scoreless inning in the bottom of the second.
The runs continued to flow in the third for UF. A pair of hits from freshman Cade Kurland and junior Wyatt Langford set up two-way sophomore Jac Caglianone to drive in a run on a groundout. In the bottom of the third, Sproat notched back-to-back-to-back scoreless innings thanks to a 1-2-3 frame.
UF added another sacrifice run in the fourth as Santa Fe College transfer Tyler Shelnut brought home Riopelle.
Texas A&M got on the board in the bottom of the fourth after Jace LaViolette sent a solo shot over the wall to make it 4-1. Sproat punched out the final batter to get out with a 3-run cushion.
The Gators’ offense went stagnant in the top fifth, stranding Langford and keeping it a 4-1 game. The Aggies tied things up in the bottom frame after a three-run homer. Headed into the sixth, UF tied TAMU 4-4.
Riopelle stepped up once more, homering again in the top of the sixth inning to make it 5-4.
After letting two runners on base in the bottom sixth, Sproat was pulled for freshman backend bullpen arm Cade Fisher. He let up an RBI single to make it a 5-5 ballgame. Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan opted to pull Fisher for right-hander Ryan Slater. The sophomore reliever was able to secure the last out, and the Gators entered the final third tied up with TAMU.
It didn’t take long for UF to regain the lead. Kurland stepped up with one out, turned on a 2-1 pitch and belted it past the outfield wall for a 6-5 UF lead.
Slater let up a walk to open the seventh and was pulled off the mound in favor Philip Abner. He secured the last two outs including a strikeout to carry Florida into the eighth inning with a 1-run lead.
The Gators went 1-2-3 through the top frame of the eighth inning. Abner produced the same result from his frame to keep it a 6-5 UF lead with one inning of play remaining.
UF went scoreless through the top frame. Neely emerged from the bullpen for the bottom. He secured the final three outs and UF was awarded with the win.
Tomorrow the Gators are back at Blue Bell Stadium looking to secure a series victory and five-straight wins against the Aggies.