No. 12 Florida rallies to upend No. 6 Tennessee

Special to Gatorsports.com
Florida's Kris Armstrong hit a three-run pinch-hit homer to help the Gators defeat No. 6 Tennessee on Sunday.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Florida needed some clutch performers Sunday to salvage a game in the SEC baseball series against No. 6 Tennessee.

The No. 12 Gators found at least two players who stepped up for the 7-6 win.

Pinch-hitter Kris Armstrong belted a three-run home run in the eighth inning to support the relief pitching of Christian Scott (1-2), who went 42/3 scoreless inning, striking out six and retiring 14 of the 16 batters he faced.

"A lot of guys contributed," UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "Kris (Armstrong) coming off the bench, hitting a three-run homer. Christian Scott's outing was outstanding on the mound."

Florida (21-11, 6-6 SEC), which lost Friday's game 6-4 and Saturday's 5-4, ended Tennessee's modest four-game winning streak in the all-time series. UT fell to 27-6 overall and 9-3 in the league.

"This league is not easy and it's difficult to navigate through the 30 games," O'Sullivan said. "Obviously, today had some importance to it because we wanted to get back home and be .500.

"Hopefully, a game like this can give us a little confidence moving forward."

Trailing 6-4 after one out in the eighth, Josh Rivera singled and Colby Halter doubled before Armstrong, pinch-hitting for shortstop Jordan Carrion, homered to right field off the Vols' third pitcher Sean Hunley (4-2) to put the Gators up 7-6.

Florida took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Jordan Butler doubled and scored on a Halter double.

Tennessee answered with a run of its own in the bottom of the second thanks to a bases loaded walk.

The Gators went up 3-1 in the fourth on Jacob Young's two-run home run that also scored Rivera, who had doubled.

Florida hurt itself again in the bottom of the fourth by giving up three runs on two hits, a passed ball and two errors to allow the Vols to take a 4-3 lead.

Hunter Barco pitched four innings for UF, allowing five hits, four runs (only two earned), five walks and six strikeouts. He was was placed by Ryan Cabarcas.

Tennessee made it 6-4 in the fifth when Luc Lipcius walked and came home on Connor Pavolony's home run. After a double Cabarcas was replaced by Scott.

Volunteer starting pitcher Blade Tidwell gave up eight hits and three runs in five innings, walking three and striking out four. Camden Sewell came in in relief.

Sewell got wild in the seventh to allow the Gators to score a run. Young was hit by pitch, Nathan Hickey walked and both advanced a base on a wild pitch. Kirby McMullen drove in Young with a groundout, but Sewell got out of further damage. 

Up next

Who: Florida State at Florida

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

TV: SEC Network

Radio: AM-850, 98.1-FM