(14-13/4-2 SEC) completed a three-game sweep of No. 21 Auburn (18-9/0-6 SEC)
with a 10-3 triumph on Sunday afternoon at Plainsman Park.
Senior Matt LaPorta
(Port Charlotte, Fla.) went 4-for-4, drove in four runs
and launched a pair of homers for his fifth career multi-HR game. The slugger
was 7-for-13 (.538) in the series with three doubles, three dingers and totaled
Hurst (Jacksonville, Fla.) (1-0) had a five-inning relief
stint, scattering three hits and permitting one run, to collect his first
victory of the campaign. At 4-2 in league play, the Gators find themselves in a
log-jam atop the SEC standings.
LaPorta provided the Gators with a quick 2-0 lead in the
first inning with a towering homer to left center off sophomore Evan Crawford
(3-2). Freshman Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.)
had extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a one-out double and LaPorta took over the team lead with his seventh
round-tripper, second in as many games.
On the strength of three hits, UF grabbed a 4-0
lead in the third. Sophomore Cody Neer (Orlando,
Fla.) opened with a single
into left and moved into scoring position courtesy of his third stolen base.
Senior Brian Leclerc
the league’s top hitter in conference games, bashed an RBI double to
straightaway center field and freshman Jake
Hicks (Molino, Fla.) was hit by a pitch with one down.
Freshman Clayton Pisani
executed a hit and run to drive in Leclerc and left
the Gators with runners on the corners. Crawford induced an inning-ending 5-4-3
double play on a grounder by junior Jon
Townsend (London, Ky.)
to hold his club’s deficit at four runs.
In the bottom of the frame, Auburn used a two-out rally to narrow the gap
to 4-2 on a two-run single by freshman Joseph Sanders. Freshman Billy Bullock (Valrico, Fla.)
retired the first two batters before issuing a walk to freshman Dustin Spruill.
Rookie Robert Brooks’ base-hit was followed by a free pass to freshman Ross
Smith to load the sacks and Sanders put the hosts on the board by slicing a
single just under the grasp of Townsend at third.
A sacrifice fly by Neer
in the fourth resulted in a 5-2 lead for Florida.
LaPorta smacked a double high off the Green Monster
in left and senior Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.)
earned a walk before Crawford uncorked a wild pitch to advance both runners. Neer’s second sac fly was deep enough in center to plate LaPorta. After yielding a leadoff walk to sophomore Luke Greinke in the home part of the stanza, Bullock was
replaced by Hurst.
Over four innings, the rookie right-hander allowed four hits and a pair of
runs, with four walks and two strikeouts.
The Gators broke the game wide open with four runs
on three hits and two AU errors in the sixth for a 9-2 bulge. Freshman Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.)
led off with a single and moved to third when Hicks’ grounder was thrown away
by the shortstop. Senior Johnny Thompson took over for Crawford (5.0 IP, 9 H, 7 R) and had Pisani ground to
second base. A fielding error on the play allowed Pigott
to score and left UF with two runners aboard. A walk to Townsend filled the
bases and Figueroa blooped a single into center for a
7-2 lead. LaPorta connected on a RBI single and Leclerc later drew a two-out, bases-full walk for a
Sanders drove in his third run of the afternoon
with a two-out double in the sixth off the wall in left to pull Auburn within 9-3. LaPorta went deep over the Monster in the eighth to
finalize the 10-3 margin. UF out-hit the Tigers, 14-7, and was flawless in the field.
Figueroa finished 2-for-6, while Neer (2-for-4) and Pisani (2-for-5) chipped in multiple-hit outings. Sanders
went 2-for-4 and drove in three runs for Auburn.
returns to McKethan Stadium on Tuesday night for a
mid-week matchup with Bethune-Cookman.
The Gators’ next SEC action will be at Eastern Division rival Georgia (9-14/3-3
SEC). The Bulldogs swept Auburn last week but
then dropped all three games at Tennessee