Locke (Tampa, Fla.) (4-2) hurled his second career
complete game to help No. 22 Florida (30-19/14-12 SEC) defeat Alabama (29-23/13-13 SEC), 6-2, on Saturday
at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The left-hander scattered seven hits and gave up one
earned run as the Gators evened the weekend series. He surrendered six singles
and one double and went the distance on 96 pitches.
The victory moved the Orange and Blue into fourth
in the race for the SEC Tournament, just ahead of the Crimson Tide, Kentucky,
Ole Miss and South Carolina, who are all 13-13. Senior Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) and sophomore Matt den Dekker (Ft.
were each 3-for-5 as head coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s club exceeded its win total from last
The Gators jumped on junior Austin Hyatt (3-4) for
two runs and four hits in the opening frame. McArthur ripped his ninth double and freshman Josh Adams (Jacksonville,
Fla.) poked a two-out single to
open the scoring. Adams moved into scoring
position with his 10th stolen base and went to third on an infield hit by den
Dekker. After senior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.) came
through with an RBI single for a 2-0 lead, senior Bryson Barber (Pensacola,
Fla.) walked to load the
bases. Hyatt fanned freshman Riley
Cooper (Clearwater, Fla.) to end the stanza.
Helped by a defensive lapse, the Tide cut the
deficit in half during the third. Junior Alex Kubal
had his team’s first hit of the afternoon off Locke and was caught off base
with two down in the inning. However, Townsend dropped the relay throw to keep
the inning alive. Freshman Ross Wilson singled through the right side and
advanced to second on the relay, giving UA two runners in scoring position.
Locke uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Kubal to
score but had sophomore Brandon
May ground out to keep UF ahead.
Foster (Jacksonville, Fla.) cranked his second homer of the
season with one down in the fourth for a 3-1 margin. The blast landed in the
trees overlooking the left-field fence and was Foster’s third RBI. Barnes
followed with a walk, ending the afternoon for Hyatt (3.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 K, 3 BB).
Barber delivered a clutch two-out double in the
fifth off freshman reliever Jimmy Nelson to increase UF’s
lead to 4-1. den Dekker stroked a one-out single,
moved to second on a grounder by Townsend and stole third for his 17th-straight
theft. Barber then rocked a 3-2 pitch into left center for his fourth
In the bottom of the frame, Alabama used an RBI double down the
left-field line by Kubal to close to within 4-2.
Junior Kyle Moore led off with a single and moved over on sophomore Jake
Smith’s grounder. After Kubal’s double, Locke had
freshman Josh Rutledge line into an inning-ending double play.
A couple of errors on the same play with two down
in the eighth allowed Florida
to take a 5-2 lead. With Barnes at third and McArthur on first, Figueroa hit a
ground ball to first that senior Matt Bentley misplayed, enabling Barnes to
also had a throwing miscue on the play that kept the inning alive. Rutledge later
established an Alabama
freshman record with a two-out single in the home part of the frame that raised
his hitting streak to 28 games.
Cooper finalized the margin with a two-out RBI
single in the ninth that plated Townsend. Florida held a 12-7 edge in hits, as eight
of its nine starters had at least one. Junior RHP Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.)
(8-0, 3.22) will start tomorrow’s finale against UA righty Robert Phares (2-3, 5.91). The contest will be shown live on CSS
at 2 p.m.