(30-23/14-13 SEC) used a game-winning sacrifice fly by senior Matt Bentley in
the bottom of the ninth to complete a stunning comeback and defeat No. 22
Florida (30-20/14-13 SEC), 8-7, on Mother’s Day at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
Bentley sent a drive to deep right field that freshman Riley Cooper (Clearwater, Fla.) made an incredible catch on to
prevent a three-run homer. However, junior pinch runner Jeff Texada tagged up from second base and slid home with the
The Crimson Tide rallied from a 7-2 deficit with
five runs in the eighth and the teams were in danger of finishing in a 7-7 tie
due to the SEC travel policy before the hosts notched their second walk-off win
of the weekend to take the rubber game of the series. Sophomore Austin Graham
(5-1) allowed one run over 3.2 innings in relief for the victory, while
sophomore Clint Franklin (Orlando, Fla.)
(3-3) suffered the defeat after pitching the ninth. UF endured its seventh
one-run loss of the campaign in league action.
trailing by five runs in the eighth, junior Alex Avila drew a walk and sophomore
Brandon May (4-for-5) singled to end the afternoon for junior Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, Ill.).
Over 7.1 innings, the righty permitted seven hits and four runs, with five
strikeouts and two walks. Sophomore Tony
Davis (Cooper City,
Fla.) induced a grounder by Bentley that
forced May at second and pushed Avila
to third. Freshman Tommy Toledo (Tampa, Fla.)
came in and surrendered a three-run homer to junior Kent Matthes
to close the gap to 7-5. Sophomores Del Howell and Jake Smith connected on
consecutive singles and junior Tyler Odle tied the
game with a two-run triple to chase Toledo.
Sophomore Kyle Mullaney
Fla.) had freshman Josh Rutledge
ground out to preserve the stalemate.
out freshman Ross Wilson to begin the home part of the ninth but then plunked Avila. May stroked a single into center field to advance Texada to second, setting the stage for Bentley’s heroics. The
batter was down in the count, 0-2, and the drive to right looked to be gone
before Cooper jumped at the wall and hauled it back. Texada
raced around the bases and eluded the tag from junior Teddy Foster (Jacksonville, Fla.).
For the second-straight day, the Gators opened the
scoring in the first inning. Junior Avery
Barnes (High Springs, Fla.)
(2-for-5) began the game with his ninth double and sophomore Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)
(2-for-5) singled up the middle off junior Robert Phares.
Cooper roped an RBI double down the left-field line
in the second for a 2-0 lead. Freshman Josh
Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) led off with a base-hit and moved
over on a wild pitch. Sophomore Clayton Pisani (Naples,
Fla.) drew a one-out walk and
Cooper followed with his second two-bagger of the year. Although the Gators had
runners on second and third, Phares rebounded with
consecutive strikeouts to end the frame.
UF tacked on another run in the third on an RBI
grounder by senior Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.).
Sophomore Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, Fla.)
(3-for-5, three runs) had registered his first triple of the year off the base
of the wall in center field and scored on McArthur’s grounder to second. After
issuing a two-out walk to Adams, Phares (2.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R) was
pulled in favor of senior Will Stroup.
The Tide squandered a scoring opportunity in the
bottom of the inning, as Howell struck out and wound up on third because of a
throwing error by sophomore catcher Buddy
Munroe (Miami, Fla.). Keating buckled down to retire
Smith (strikeout), Odle (infield fly) and Rutledge
tallied two runs on four hits in the fourth for a 3-2 deficit. Wilson opened with a leadoff
single and May and Bentley produced one-out hits to load the bases. Matthes punched an RBI single to center to put the Tide on
the board and a passed ball by Munroe with two down allowed May to come across.
McArthur jacked his first homer since Feb. 9, 2007,
on opening night against VMI, to give Florida
a 5-2 lead in the fifth. Figueroa had reached on a fielder’s choice and
McArthur unloaded on a 1-0 pitch from Stroup (1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 3 K) for the
three-run advantage. Senior Josh Copeland relieved Stroup and surrendered a
towering solo blast by senior Bryson Barber
(Pensacola, Fla.), his fourth, to put UA down, 6-2.
Figueroa opened the seventh
with a home run deep to right field off Graham to give the visitors a 7-2
cushion. It was his seventh dinger to match Adams and den Dekker for the club
lead. UF held a slim 13-12 edge in hits this afternoon.
The Gators will host USF (26-24/11-13
Big East) on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in their final non-conference contest of the
regular season. Florida
wraps up the SEC schedule against Vanderbilt (37-15/15-11 SEC) in a three-game
series that starts Thursday night at McKethan