Gators drop series opener at Tigers
Published: Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 9:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 10:41 p.m.
BATON ROUGE, La. — In a game where runs were tough to come by, No. 3 LSU and No. 21 Florida went to the final few innings Thursday night with each team relying on the two stingy relievers who have been exceptional this season.
Florida at LSU, 7:30 p.m.
The Tigers' duo was a tad better than Ryan Harris and Johnny Magliozzi, and that was the narrow difference in a 3-2 Florida loss at Alex Box Stadium.
LSU catcher Ty Ross fought back from an 0-and-2 count against Magliozzi to punch a line drive deep enough to center field with the bases loaded and score Alex Bregman with the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 8th inning.
Tigers' closer Chris Cotton made that stand up by retiring the Gators in order for his 10th save.
Setup man Joey Bourgeois got the win for LSU (41-6, 17-5 SEC) by logging a scoreless 8th inning after he worked around Richie Martin's leadoff single. Bourgeois got Case Turgeon on a fly ball to center field, struck out Taylor Gushue and induced a rollout to first base after Martin stole second with two outs.
Bregman and Mason Katz began the Tigers' 8th inning with back-to-back singles off Florida reliever Ryan Harris. Magliozzi came on, and after a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, he got Raph Rhymes to pop out to second base.
The Gators (25-21, 12-10) walked Christian Ibarra intentionally to load the bases for Ross, who fell into the 0-and-2 hole, took a ball, fouled off a pitch and then rammed the ball to center field.
For most of the first 7 innings, LSU sophomore Cody Glenn and Florida ace Jonathon Crawford matched big pitches and scoreless innings.
The Gators drew even with a run in the 7th on Harrison Bader's two-out double.
Florida got on the board first in the 3rd inning when Turgeon raced home from second base on a bases-loaded comebacker that Glenn and Ross nearly turned into an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play. But Katz dropped the ball at first base for an error.
In the bottom of the 3rd inning, Crawford walked Tyler Moore and Sean McMullen on eight pitches to start the at-bat. The Gators' ace nearly got out of the jam when he struck out Mark Laird and induced a fly ball to right field from Bregman on a hit-and-run.
But Katz yanked a ground-ball single through the left side to send Moore dashing around third base with the tying run.
“We battled (Thursday). Crawford and the relievers made some big pitches, but we just weren't able to get much production from the middle of our order and score enough runs. We have to be more aggressive and take advantage of positive counts," Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan said.
JaCoby Jones put the Tigers on top 2-1 in the 4th inning when he blasted a pitch into the left-field bleachers, his 4th home run of the season.
The teams get together for Game 2 at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Tigers' ace Aaron Nola will take the mound looking for his 9th win, while Florida will counter with sophomore left-hander Bobby Poyner (2-1, 4.22 ERA).
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