Florida’s first SEC baseball weekend results in sweep of Texas A&M

Special to Gatorsports.com
Florida starting pitcher Hunter Barco (3-1) helped the Gators sweep Texas A&M on Saturday at Florida Ballpark.

No. 5 Florida capped the SEC's first sweep of the season with an 8-4 win Saturday over Texas A&M at Florida Ballpark/McKethan Field.

Florida (16-5, 3-0 SEC) pounded 13 hits and got home runs from third baseman Kirby McMullen and center fielder Jud Fabian to send the Aggies (15-7, 0-3) reeling after being outscored 24-9 in the three-game series.

"I'm really proud of the way the guys battled today and the way they bounced back from Tuesday night (loss at FSU)," UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "That was obviously a really frustrating game. It's amazing when you are coaching young people how quickly the script can get flipped, so to speak.

"Last Tuesday feels like three weeks ago, the way they responded with their energy, their focus, the way the starters rebounded. The offense was outstanding all weekend. Every time they scored today, we seemed to answer right back."

Gators left-hander Hunter Barco (3-1) benefited Saturday from Florida's offensive fireworks. Barco tossed a season-high 96 pitches and limited Texas A&M to three runs (two earned) over six innings. Barco stuck out nine, allowed nine hits and walked none. After loading the bases and allowing an RBI single to Auston Bost in the top of the seventh, O'Sullivan turned to reliever Franco Aleman.

Texas A&M trimmed Florida's lead to 6-3 when Ray Alejo scored on a passed ball, but Aleman prevented further damage by striking out three consecutive Aggies to close the inning. The Gators promptly padded their lead in the bottom of the seventh when Fabian led off with his team-high eighth homer of the season and freshman catcher Mac Guscette added an RBI single. Meanwhile, Aleman earned his third save by striking out five over three innings.

Florida grabbed an early lead off Aggies starter Jonathan Childress with a run in the first and then a three-run homer by McMullen in the third that put the Gators up 4-0. McMullen finished 2-for-3 with three RBI and Fabian went 3-for-4.

The Gators do not play a midweek game for the first time this season and return to action Friday at 7 p.m. in the SEC road opener at South Carolina. The game will be streamed live on SEC Network+. 

Note: The Gators' sweep of Texas A&M, coupled with a three-game sweep of Missouri to close the 2019 regular season, gives them six consecutive SEC regular-season victories. That is the program's longest SEC regular-season win streak since a seven-game streak in 2018 (two wins over Arkansas, three against Vanderbilt, and two against Tennessee).