The Gators’ (18-9) baseball team swept a doubleheader from No. 4 LSU (20-7) Saturday at McKethan Stadium. After the first game was delayed from Friday night and the two games were delayed Saturday, Florida capitalized and clinched the series from their SEC West rival. The Gators could find themselves in the Top 25 next week with a win over top-ranked Florida State earlier in the week.
In game one, junior Justin Shafer took a 2-2 pitch from LSU starter Aaron Nola (5-1) over the left-field wall to give the Gators a walk-off home run. It was Shafer’s first home run of the season and handed Nola his first loss of the season for the Tigers. The long ball broke a 1-1 tie that had been steady since the third inning.
LSU scored in the top of the first inning on a home run from DH Kade Scivicque. It was the only run UF starter Eric Hanhold would allow. He gave up seven hits with three strikeouts in 7.1 innings of work. Sophomore Danny Young came on to throw an inning giving up only a walk before turning the ball over to fellow sophomore Aaron Rhodes. Rhodes (3-1) picked up the win after tossing 0.2 innings when Shafer ended the game in the bottom of the ninth.
Florida scored its first run of the game in the third inning when second baseman Casey Turgeon belted a solo home run. All three runs in the game came courtesy of a home run swing, with Florida getting the edge at the end of the game.
Florida scored two runs on six hits and had no errors. LSU had one run on seven hits and had one error.
In the nightcap, the Gators scored six runs in two innings en route to a 6-2 victory and winning the series against the Tigers. A standout performance from starter Logan Shore (2-1) and a three-run bomb from Taylor Gushue were the highlights for Florida.
Shore went 8.2 innings and allowed two runs on six hits with five strikeouts. Junior Bobby Poyner came on to throw five pitches and record a strikeout to pick up his second save of the season. He recorded a four-run save because the tying run was on deck.
Florida scored first in the fifth inning on RBIs from Peter Alonso and Ryan Larson. A third run was scored on a throwing error by the LSU defense. The Gators then took a commanding 6-0 lead the next inning with the home run by Gushue driving in three runs.
The Tigers were not able to rebound until the eighth inning with back-to-back RBI groundouts from third baseman Christian Ibarra and second baseman Kramer Robertson. LSU threatened with runners on base in the last frame before being retired by Poyner to end the game.
Jared Poche (5-2) took the loss for the Tigers giving up six runs on four hits in 5.0 innings pitched. Only four were earned runs as two Tiger errors led to two unearned runs crossing home plate for the Gators.
Florida continues to win with the long ball; they are 7-0 in games the team has a home run. In 18 innings with the doubleheader Saturday, the pitching staff allowed a mere three runs while recording ten strikeouts and giving up three walks. Dominant pitching with timely hitting was key to the Gators sweeping the Tigers and winning the weekend series.
The third game will be played Sunday at 1 PM. Florida looks to win its fourth game in a row and get its first conference sweep of the season.