Gators' sweep bid foiled by Vols in regular-season finale
Published: Saturday, May 17, 2014 at 5:15 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, May 17, 2014 at 5:15 p.m.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee clinched a berth in the SEC baseball tournament with a 7-5 win over Florida on Saturday afternoon at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
The No. 8 Gators (37-19, 21-9 SEC) had claimed the first two games of the series to secure the outright SEC championship and were bidding for their first sweep in Knoxville since 1992 against the Vols (31-22, 12-18).
Florida begins play at the SEC tournament in Hoover, Ala., on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. as the top seed against the winner of a Tuesday elimination game between No. 8 Alabama and No. 9 Kentucky.
Tennessee rallied from three different deficits and used a three-run fifth to punch its ticket to Hoover for the first time since 2007. Sophomore Andy Cox (5-1) yielded seven hits and five runs over seven innings to earn the win, with sophomore Andrew Lee working out of a jam in the ninth to collect his fourth save.
Junior Taylor Gushue (3-for-4, three RBIs) broke the ice with a homer to start the second inning to left field. It was his team-best sixth big fly of the year.
UT evened the contest in the bottom of the frame on an RBI single by sophomore A.J. Simcox. The Vols later had the bases loaded with two down and sophomore starter Danny Young used a fielder’s choice to escape the jam.
After junior Josh Tobias moved UF back in front with a round-tripper to left leading off the third inning, Tennessee answered with three runs on three hits to grab a 4-2 advantage.
Florida plated three runs with two down in the fifth on an RBI double by sophomore Richie Martin and a two-run double by Gushue to reclaim the lead at 5-4. Martin drove in Tobias, who had walked and stolen second and third. After sophomore Harrison Bader legged out an infield single for runners on the corners, Gushue roped his team-leading 16th double down the left-field line to clear the bags.
The Vols answered with three runs in the home part of the inning to take the 7-5 lead.
Notes: Florida was foiled in its bid to equal the 2010 and 2011 SEC championship squads with a 22-8 league record. … UF’s eight-game road winning streak was snapped, tied for the second-longest in school history.