BATON ROUGE, La. — Florida had been manhandled on the SEC road this season, being swept by Vanderbilt and Ole Miss.
The Gators weren’t having any of it against No. 14 LSU to start the three-game baseball series Thursday. They pounded five LSU pitchers for 20 hits, four of them home runs, for a 16-9 win, the most runs scored at Alex Box Stadium by a Kevin O’Sullivan UF team.
Catcher Brady Smith led the UF attack, going 4 for 4 with four runs driven in and three scored. Austin Langworthy, Jordan Butler and Wil Dalton had three hits each.
Tommy Mace (7-3) scattered 10 hits through seven innings to pick up the win. He allowed four earned runs and struck out nine.
“Tommy (Mace) pitched really well; he pitched seven full innings – that’s not easy to do here,” O’Sullivan said. “Sometimes you lose your concentration when you have a big lead like that, but he threw the ball really well. We needed him to do that tonight.
“Offensively, this was one of the better games we’ve had all year long. We’re starting to come around. I don’t think the box score indicates how the game went. We’re trying to save some arms for the next couple games.”
The game was scheduled for a 7 p.m. ET start, but inclement weather pushed first pitch back two hours.
Florida started the rout with a six-run second inning, when Smith hit a two-run double, Langworthy a RBI single and Kendrick Calilao a two-run single.
UF made it 7-0 in the third when Dalton doubled and scored on Smith’s single.
Freshman Cory Acton’s first collegiate home run, a three-run shot, made the score 10-0 UF in the fourth inning.
Brady McConnell hit a three-run home run in the fifth, his team-leading ninth of the year, to stretch UF’s advantage to 13-0.
Mace allowed four singles in the fifth that produced LSU’s first two runs.
Christian Flint’s RBI single in the sixth put UF up 14-2.
LSU cut the deficit to 14-4 with two runs in the seventh.
Smith hit his fourth home run of the season to put UF up 15-4 in the eighth.
Saul Garza hit a solo home run off UF reliever Hunter Ruth in the eighth. Ruth then allowed a RBI single to Antoine Duplantis that brought the score to 15-6. Kirby McMullen replaced Ruth and closed out the inning.
Langworthy belted his fifth home run of the season in the ninth for a 16-6 advantage.
LSU scored three runs in the home half of the ninth off McMullen to settle the final margin.
The Tigers’ starting pitcher Ma’Khail Hilliard (0-2) allowed six runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out three in two innings.
Jack Leftwich (4-2, 4.50) returns to the lineup Friday for the 8 p.m. game on the SEC Network and Christian Scott (3-2, 4.60) is the scheduled starter at 3 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2).
Note: Florida’s 16 runs is its highest total against the Tigers since a 19-3 rout in Baton Rouge on May 11, 2007.