The Gators Utilize the Long Ball to Down the Tide
No. 9 Florida (15-4) went deep five times in its 13-6 win over Alabama (12-8) in game two of SEC play on Saturday. Florida's coach Kevin O'Sullivan picked up his 600th career win.
"I think our team as a whole has done some really good things at times," Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon said. "We have to be more consistent. We didn't pitch well enough tonight at all."
Left fielder Wyatt Langford led the charge with two home runs and three hits for the Gators. Six Florida batters had a multi-hit game as the Gators amassed 18 hits. Junior Kris Armstrong went 4-5 with a home run.
A two-run home run by Langford was followed by a solo home run by BT Riopelle to put Florida on top 3-0 in the first inning.
Left-handed pitcher Antoine Jean started for the fifth time for Alabama and suffered the loss. Jean was never able to get his footing as he gave up a season high five earned runs and was pulled in the fourth inning.
The Alabama bats battled early and were able to chase Florida's starter and top 100 MLB draft prospect Brandon Sproat from the game early on.
Alabama got its first run in the second inning. Jim Jarvis picked up his sixth RBI of the year on a bases loaded walk making the score 3-1. Jarvis's single in the fourth inning extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
Alabama picked up a pair of runs in the third inning after Florida scored one in the top half. Drew Williamson picked up an RBI single following a nine pitch walk to Zane Denton and a hit-by-pitch to Tommy Seidl. Owen Diodati hit into a double play to score Alabama's third run, pulling the Tide to within one.
Florida scored one more in the fourth inning and led 5-3 heading into the bottom half of the fourth.
A leadoff single in the bottom of the fourth chased Brandon Sproat from the game. The right-hander pitched 3 innings and gave up 4 earned runs on five hits. He walked three and struck out two.
"I think we're making some strides offensively," said Bohannon. "I don't think two or three weeks ago we could have faced an arm like that and had the at-bats like that and chased him out of the game like we did."
Ryan Slater came on to relieve Sproat and was promptly greeted with a bloop single and a bunt single to load the bases. A ground out by Tamez and a sacrifice fly by Denton tied the game at five apiece.
Florida quickly got the lead back in the top of the fifth when Langford struck one over Alabama's bullpen for his second home run of the night to put Florida up 6-5. A bases loaded walk with two outs by Colby Halter plated Kendrick Calilao to put Florida up by two.
Sophomore Hunter Furtado pitched the middle innings for Alabama. He gave up eight hits and six runs. The six runs matched his season total in runs given up before this game.
Furtado was plagued by the long ball. Langford, Kendrick Calilao, and Kris Armstrong all went deep off of Furtado. The final home run chased the Lake Worth, Florida native after 2.1 innings pitched and put Florida in front 11-5.
Alabama was able to push across one more run on an Owen Diodati home run in the seventh inning. It was Diodati's fourth long ball of the year.
Florida picked up two additional runs in the eight inning to stretch its lead seven. Blake Purnell nailed down the final three outs for the Gators.
In a bright spot for the Tide, freshman Braylon Myers pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for Alabama. The Bessemer native was making his third appearance on the year.
Hunter Furtado (2-2) suffered the loss. Ryan Slater (2-0) was credited with the win.
Alabama will wrap up its series with Florida tomorrow at 1 p.m. Grayson Hitt will get the ball for the Crimson Tide. The Gators will go for the sweep and counter with Pierce Coppola.