The Florida Gators (15-7) baseball team defeated Texas A&M Friday night in College Station. It was the first SEC game and first conference win for the Gators this season. The 5-3 Florida victory came after 11 innings of play. They are now 4-0 in extra-inning games.
Florida got on the board early in the first inning when second baseman Casey Turgeon scored on a double by center fielder Harrison Bader. Turgeon reached on a single and advanced to third on the hit by Bader. He then scored on a throwing error the left fielder. Bader then scored on an RBI single by catcher Taylor Gushue. The Gators did score twice in the first but left three men on base.
The Aggies responded in the second inning with an RBI double by left fielder Jonathan Moroney. He drove in DH Mitchell Nau who had singled and moved into scoring position on a single to right field by third baseman Blake Allemand. Texas A&M also scored in the third inning on a bases-loaded RBI single by Moroney. That was all the scoring they could manage in the frame leaving the bases loaded after a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Down by a run, Texas A&M tied the game in the sixth inning with an infield single by first baseman Cole Lankford. He drove in center fielder Jace Statum who had singled and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and third on a groundout to shortstop.
With the game tied after nine innings, Florida and Texas A&M needed two more innings to decide a winner. After a scoreless 10th, the Gators came through in the 11th inning with a bases-loaded RBI single by first baseman Braden Mattson. He was followed by left fielder Justin Shafer who laid down a squeeze bunt to score Bader from third base. Florida ended the inning by hitting into a double play and left two on base.
Texas A&M managed only one hit in the final five innings and was held hitless in the extra frames. Freshman A.J. Puk (2-2) picked up the win for Florida after tossing only six pitches in 0.1 innings. Freshman Logan Shore started the game and gave up three runs on nine hits in 5.0 innings pitched. Junior Ryan Harris went 4.0 innings and gave up only one hit and had three strikeouts. Sophomore Aaron Rhodes picked up his third save of the season by getting two strikeouts and a fly out in the last inning.
Daniel Mengden went 7.0 innings for the Aggies and allowed three runs on ten hits and had seven strikeouts. Jason Jester (2-1) took the loss giving up the two runs in the 11th inning.
Florida scored five runs on 16 hits and had two errors. The Aggies plated three runs on 12 hits but had three errors. The two teams square-off for game two on Saturday at 3:05 PM. Sophomore Eric Hanhold (3-1) will start for the Gators and sophomore Grayson Long (2-0) will take the mound for Texas A&M.