Florida bounces back to take series

Florida bounces back to take series

In the first game of the doubleheader, Aubrun used a two-home run inning to take a lead they wouldn’t give up. In the second leg, and the rubber match of the series, No. 15 Florida followed the same script.

Nathan Hickey lifted the first pitch of the fourth inning over the wall in right field to tie the game at one. Three pitches later Kirby McMullen had singled and Jud Fabian launched a two-run home run to give Florida a 3-1.

Hunter Barco took the mound looking to help Florida secure its first road SEC series of the season but struggled early.

Ryan Bliss — who terrorized the Gators’ pitching staff this weekend — started the bottom of the first with a single and Barco walked Tyler MIller on five pitches to follow up. A lineout, walk, and groundout would give Auburn a 1-0 advantage.

Auburn starter Peyton Glavine — the son of MLB Hall of Famer Tom Glavine, who was in attendance — mowed the Gators down through the first three innings. Glavine retired eight of the first 10 batters he faced before Florida finally got to him in the fourth inning.

To his credit, Barco settled down after the first inning. He worked around a walk in the second and retired the side in order in the third but gave up two runs, and the lead in the fourth inning.

Steven Williams, Brody Moore, and Bryson Ware singled in succession to start the fourth, which allowed two runs to score on routine groundouts to knot the game at three.

“I thought Hunter (Barco) kept us in the ballgame. A couple things, pitching-wise. I know I sound like a broken record, but we have got to figure out a way to not give up runs after we score,” Kevin O’Sullivan said after the game. “Going back to the first game, we walked a nine-hole hitter, and we’ve done that numerous times this year, and then we didn’t execute and 0-2 pitch with runners in scoring position. Those types of things, we’ve got to clean up. I know we keep talking about it, but the rebound runs after we score, it’s really hard to keep momentum in our dugout, and we’re spending way too much time on the bottom half of the order.”

The Gators retook the lead in the sixth inning on a weird play. Kirby McMullen and Jud Fabian singled with one out to bring up Sterlin Thompson. The freshman grounded to the pitcher but the throw went wayward allowing McMullen to score, making it 4-3 Florida. Fabin, meanwhile, tried to go to home on the throw but was caught and tagged out at third for the second out.

Florida added two more runs in the seventh inning, which proved valuable. Trey Van Der Weide finished the game, and series, off in the seventh, giving Florida am 11-7 record in the SEC with SEC East leading Vanderbilt coming to town this weekend.

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