Gators can't get past Vols, 6-4

Special to Gatorsports.com

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — No. 6 Tennessee had an answer in key situations Friday to defeat No. 12 Florida in SEC baseball, 6-4.

The Vols (26-5, 8-2) scored four of their runs with two outs and every time Florida (20-10, 5-5) scored, Tennessee would regain momentum with a score in the bottom half of the inning.

"They did a nice job offensively extending innings," UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "We hit a couple home runs off of fastballs and I think offensively, we didn't make an adjustment quick enough because they spun the ball for three innings. We didn't make the adjustment offensively.

"We just need to do a little bit better job on the mound. I think we had a 25-pitch first inning and nine of the first 10 hitters hit with two strikes. We talk about being a little bit more aggressive, especially being on the road. It was a tough loss, but we have to obviously come back tomorrow."

After Tennessee went up 1-0 in the third on a Logan Steenstra double and Liam Spence single, Florida took the lead 2-1 on back-to-back home runs from Nathan Hickey and Kirby McMullen in the fourth.

The Vols regained the lead in the home half of the fourth with a run for a 3-2 lead and made it 4-2 with another run in the fifth.

Florida tied the game at 4-all in the seventh with Jud Fabian's home run the big hit. 

UT scored in the bottom of the seventh to retake the lead at 5-4 and added an insurance run in the eighth.

Florida starter Tommy Mace gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings. Reliever Christian Scott (0-2) pitched the final two innings giving up two runs.

Reliever Sean Hunley (4 saves) pitched two scoreless innings to preserve the win for starter Chad Dallas (5-0).

Game two of the series is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday with the SEC Network providing the TV coverage. UF has not announced a starting pitcher, while UT will toss lefty Will Heflin (2-1, 3.86 ERA).