Almost immediately following Hurston Waldrep’s ten pitch first inning, the Gainesville skies opened up. Despite a heavy falling rain, play continued into the bottom of the frame, for a short bit, anyway.
With a 3-2 count to Florida’s leadoff hitter, Cade Kurland, umpire Christopher Griffith placed the game in a delay as players scrambled to get the tarp over the infield.
Both head coaches were furious about the bottom half of the inning being played before the delay. As a result of the one hour and sixteen minute delay, Florida was forced to go to the bullpen while the Commodores stuck to their original script.
The Gators topped Vanderbilt 6-2 to claim the series and move into a tie for first place in the SEC East.
Florida got on the scoreboard first as freshman Kurland crushed a solo homer to the visiting bullpen beyond the left field wall in the third inning.
In the top of the fifth, Vandy evened the score on RJ Austin’s leadoff, solo homer.
The Gators didn’t let the game stay even for long, though. In the bottom of the frame, a pair of singles by Luke Heyman and Deric Fabian (bunt single) followed by a sacrifice bunt by Michael Robertson put a pair of runners in scoring position. Kurland was hit by a pitch for the 16th time to load the bases for Wyatt Langford. Langford roped a shot to center that scored two runs to open up a 3-1 lead. A sacrifice fly from Jac Caglianone increased the advantage to 4-1 before Josh Rivera singled home Langford to make it 5-1.
Florida picked up an insurance run in the sixth as Kurland singled up the middle to plate Fabian.
Vanderbilt closed the gap to four runs in the eighth on a fielder’s choice and error by Josh Rivera.
Florida’s pitching staff was impressive. Ryan Slater entered in the second inning and tossed four innings allowing just one run. Philip Abner followed by throwing 2.1 innings before Brandon Neely recorded the final five outs to close out the win.
Florida and Vanderbilt will complete the series Sunday at 1:00 PM. Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan confirmed that Waldrep will start the finale.