LSU (29-23-1/12-14-1 SEC) salvaged the finale of
its weekend series with a 9-4 victory over Florida (27-26/14-13 SEC) on Sunday
afternoon at Alex Box Stadium. Trailing 4-3, the Tigers used a three-run fourth
and four scoreless innings from freshman reliever T.J. Forrest to seal the win.
Sophomore starter Ryan Byrd (6-1) scattered seven hits and gave up four runs
over five full innings to earn the decision.
LSU took its first lead of the series with three
runs on four hits in the opening stanza against freshman Billy Bullock (Valrico, Fla.)
(2-6). Sophomore Chris McGhee led off with a single to center and a
base-hit by sophomore Nicholas Pontiff left the Tigers with two runners in
scoring position. A grounder to first by freshman Blake Dean brought in McGhee
and freshman Sean Ochinko delivered a two-out single
to left for a 2-0 advantage. Bullock plunked freshman Ryan Schimpf
to load the bases and sophomore Buzzy Haydel’s bloop single plated
freshman Jared Mitchell, who had started the two-out rally with a walk.
right back with three runs on three hits in the second to even the game. Senior
Austin Pride (Longwood, Fla.)
started things off against Byrd with his 11th homer, just out of the reach of
left fielder Schimpf. Sophomore Cody Neer (Orlando,
Fla.) followed with a single and freshman Jonathan Pigott
(Ormond Beach, Fla.) roped a ball to
center that resulted in his first career triple when the ball eluded a diving
Mitchell. A throwing error on the relay by junior shortstop Michael Hollander
enabled Pigott to forge a 3-3 stalemate. Freshman Hampton Tignor (Sarasota, Fla.)
earned a free pass, was sacrificed to second by sophomore Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) and took third on freshman Cole Figueroa’s (Tallahassee,
Fla.) grounder. However, Byrd
stranded the runner by having junior Jon
Townsend (London, Ky.)
pop up to short.
UF moved in front, 4-3, on a squeeze bunt by Barnes
in the fourth. Pigott doubled to left center with one
down and advanced to third on Neer’s base-hit. Barnes
pushed a bunt on the infield grass up the first-base line to collect his 14th
In the bottom of the frame, the Tigers seized a 6-4
lead with three runs on three hits. Schimpf drew a
leadoff walk but was forced at second on Haydel’s
bunt attempt. A single by sophomore J.T. Wise gave the hosts two runners aboard
and ended the afternoon for Bullock (3.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 K, 3
BB). McGhee greeted junior Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.)
with an RBI single into right field to plate Haydel
and Wise also scored on a throwing error by Tignor. Pontiff
stroked a base-knock to give LSU a two-run edge and prompted another pitching
change. Senior Steven Porter (Ocoee, Fla.)
prevented further damage by recording the final two outs.
Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) bashed a pinch-hit double off the
right-field wall with one down in the sixth off Forrest and moved to third on
Barnes’ ground ball. The reliever had Figueroa tap out to second to keep the
home team by a couple of runs.
LSU tacked on two additional runs in the home part
of the sixth on a two-out single up the middle by Mitchell for an 8-4 cushion.
Pontiff was hit by a pitch from sophomore Patrick
Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.) and Dean’s liner landed in right
field for runners on the corners and one down. A sacrifice by Hollander left
two men in scoring position and Mitchell sliced a 1-0 offering past a lunging
Figueroa to give the Bayou Bengals a four-run lead. A
run-scoring single by Wise the next inning brought across junior Steven Broschofsky to provide the hosts with a 9-4 margin.
LSU held a 13-9 advantage in hits, as four players
chipped in with two apiece. Pride was 3-for-4 for UF, but Leclerc’s
13-game hitting streak came to an end with a 0-for-5 performance. The Gators
will wrap up their regular season by hosting Eastern Division rival Tennessee (30-22/11-14
SEC) this week at McKethan Stadium. The three-game
set will begin on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.