Gators stay alive with win
Published: Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 4:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 4:57 p.m.
HOOVER, Ala. — Top-seeded Florida bounced back from a poor start to its SEC baseball tournament appearance with a 7-2 win over No. 4 seed South Carolina in an elimination game Thursday at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
Florida (38-20) vs. Mississippi State (37-21)
When: 7:30 p.m., or 30 minutes following the game between Arkansas and Ole Miss, which starts at 4 p.m.
Where: Hoover Metropolitan Stadium, Hoover, Ala.
The Gators (38-20) will play Mississippi State (37-21) on Friday night in a second elimination game, which will be televised by CSS.
The Bulldogs fell to Kentucky 7-6 in 12 innings late Thursday night.
“We were just fortunate there to score a couple two-out runs,” UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. “We put some good at-bats together. We have kind of won that way the whole year. We got contributions from everyone up and down the lineup.”
Florida, ranked No. 7 by Baseball America, was knocked into the losers' bracket with a 4-2 loss to Kentucky on Wednesday.
Florida overcame a 2-0 South Carolina (42-16) lead with three runs in the third inning, when Taylor Gushue hit a two-run single and Braden Mattson delivered a run-scoring hit.
“We didn't play the game we wanted to yesterday,” Gushue said. “Coming back into today, we needed to get some specific jobs done. We needed to get back to playing our game of baseball. I think we did a good job of that today.”
The Gators' lead grew to 5-2 in the fourth on run-scoring hits from Casey Turgeon and Richie Martin.
Josh Tobias' home run in the sixth made it 6-2. The Gators added another run in the eighth on a Turgeon single.
Florida reliever Bobby Poyner (5-3) earned the win, pitching the game's final five innings and allowing just two hits in relief of starter A.J. Puk.
Turgeon went 3-for-5 with two RBI to pace the Gators.
“I thought today was a really good learning experience for our guys,” Poyner said. “Going into tournament play, this is something no one in this club with freshman had experienced. Today was good and I really thought we handled it well.