UF rides 10-run inning to sweep of Gamecocks


Florida's Zack Powers, left, congratulates Connor Mitchell after Mitchell hit a sacrifice RBI grounder to score Powers during a 10-run sixth inning against South Carolina at McKethan Stadium on Saturday. The Gators beat the Gamecocks 14-5 to sweep the weekend series.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 6:07 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 10:38 p.m.

When South Carolina scored in the top of the sixth to tie the game at four, Florida needed to respond against the Gamecocks.

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Who: Florida at Florida Gulf Coast
When: Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.
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Nobody could see what was coming next.

The Gators scored 10 runs in the bottom of the sixth, the most in an inning since 2005, and rolled to a 14-5 win over No. 8 South Carolina to sweep the series.

“Usually, you get in a situation like that and someone grounds out and you get a run,” said Justin Shafer, who had a two-run double in the inning. “But this was base hit after base hit. It was fun to watch.”




The win was Florida's fifth straight. The Gators have won eight of their last 10 games with seven of those wins coming against ranked teams.

It has been quite a turnaround for the Gators, who are now 19-18 overall and 8-7 in league play. But that turnaround took time.

Saturday's turnaround was a blur of base hits.

Vickash Ramjit started it with a double. Two batters later, Josh Tobias singled home the go-ahead run as a pinch-hitter.

And the hits, they just kept a-coming.

Casey Turgeon singled home a run, a blooper over a drawn-in infield. Richie Martin singled to right to score two more. After a hit batter, Shafer doubled home a pair of runs. Two batters later, Ramjit had his second double of the inning.

“We had a little meeting (before the inning),” Ramjit said. “Everyone stay behind each other, keep battling. We just kept hitting and nobody wanted to be that out.

“This is definitely a big step forward for us. We've been working hard all year and we feel like that work is starting to pay off for us.”

In all, 10 straight Florida batters reached base safely to start the inning against four South Carolina pitchers.

“It was an odd inning,” said Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan. “Hitting is contagious, but you don't see that very often.”

Florida, which had an eight-run inning last Sunday at Mississippi State, had taken an early lead with a four-run second inning that included a pair of RBI singles by Harrison Bader and Casey Turgeon. But South Carolina crawled back into it with a two-run homer by Max Schrock in the third and a bases-loaded groundout by LB Dantzler in the sixth.

But with the score tied, Florida turned what looked like another tight game into a blowout.

“Everybody was hyped in the dugout,” Tobias said. “Everybody was yelling.”

Not to be lost in this offensive explosion for the Gators was the pitching of Shafer, who started the game as the designated hitter. He allowed the tying run to score but pitched three innings of relief that were crucial to the win.

“We did that at Florida State, too,” O'Sullivan said. “He did a really nice job.”

South Carolina (27-10, 8-7 SEC) left 13 runners on base for the series and 32 for the series.

“You don't do that very often,” O'Sullivan said. “You don't want to be talking about that every weekend, stranding 32 runners. You'll either go gray or bald.”

Daniel Gibson, who pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings, got the win, his second of the season. Both teams used six pitchers in the game, which was played before an announced crowd of 4,374.

“I think we're starting to grow up a little bit,” O'Sullivan said.

Florida next travels to Florida Gulf Coast for a Tuesday game with the Eagles, who swept the Gators early in the season in Gainesville.

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