Special to The Sun
COLUMBIA, S. C. — No. 2 Florida took advantage of a pair of home runs Sunday to beat South Carolina 3-2 and claim the series after the teams split the first two games.
“To win a series on the road, it’s not easy to do,” UF coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “I was at Clemson for nine years, when the crowd (at South Carolina) gets into it like that … we needed to play our best baseball today. I thought South Carolina played great all weekend.
“We know how good our pitching is, but they were able to get both our starters yesterday and today out after five complete. Credit them, I thought they played really well this weekend. Some of their pitchers were better than I thought. Coming into the game today, Ridge Chapman had 10 walks in 13 innings and all he did was throw strikes.”
For the first time in the series, Florida (18-4, 2-1 SEC) got on the board first. Leadoff batter Wil Dalton took a 2-1 pitch out to left field for his third home run in his last four at bats.
The Gators extended the lead with a pair of runs in the fourth. JJ Schwarz led off the inning with a solo shot to left field. A sac fly from Deacon Liput brought home Jonathan India for a 3-0 lead.
South Carolina (13-7, 1-2) chipped away with a run in the fourth on Danny Blair’s RBI single and cut the deficit to one on Jacob Olson’s solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Florida starter Tyler Dyson improved to 4-1 after allowing two runs on six hits over five innings. He gave way to freshman Jordan Butler who was effective in going 1.2 innings without a hit or run allowed. The left-hander entered the game with the tying run on base in the sixth inning and escaped the jam with a strikeout and groundball double play. He then got the first two outs of the seventh before giving way to Michael Byrne.
Byrne pitched the final 2.1 innings without allowing a hit for his fifth save of the season.
Note: Nine of the Gators’ 17 runs on the weekend came via home run. Dalton blasted three homers on the weekend while Jonathan India had two. Nick Horvath and Schwarz also had home runs.
Who: Jacksonville vs. Florida
When: 6 p.m. Tuesday
Where: McKethan Stadium