The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

No. 5 Florida finishes sweep over Alabama

214 days ago
Florida Athletics

TUSCALOOSA, Ala.-The Gators offense continued to roll on Sunday with a 10-5 win over Alabama to finish off a third-straight weekend sweep in Southeastern Conference play.

Florida (38-14, 19-8 SEC) fell behind 1-0 in the first inning but scored seven unanswered runs to overtake Alabama (19-31, 5-21 SEC).

The Gators have won nine league games in a row and 13 of the last 15 in conference play.

Florida returns home to finish out the regular season with a huge three-game series against No. 8 Kentucky at McKethan Stadium. The Gators currently hold a one-game lead over the Wildcats in the SEC East division standings.

The series opens Thursday night with a 7 p.m. start on ESPN. Game two on Friday is at 7 p.m. on SEC Network and the finale will be Saturday at 1 p.m.

With 12 hits on the afternoon, Florida has had 10-plus hits in five of the past seven games with a .320 average over that span. Ryan Larson had a three-hit day and scored a pair of runs while Nelson Maldonado went 2-for-2 with three RBI, three runs scored and three walks on the afternoon.

Chandler Avant took the second pitch he saw from Jackson Kowar and lined it to the center field wall for a leadoff triple in the bottom of the first. Three batters later, Alabama took a 1-0 lead on Hunter Alexander's sac fly to center field.

The Gators responded right away, taking the lead in the second with a pair of runs. Maldonado drew his team-best 32nd walk of the season to start the inning and moved around the bases on a passed ball and groundout.

Jonathan India tied the game with a RBI double down the left field line to score Maldonado. India came in to score on an error by the third baseman to give Florida a 2-1 lead.

Maldonado got a free ride around the bases again in the third inning. He drew another walk, stole second and took third on a groundout by Austin Langworthy. Maldonado sprinted home on a wild pitch to give the Gators a two-run lead.

Florida put together a two-out rally in the fourth to extend the lead. Back-to-back singles from Larson and Dalton Guthrie got things going and a walk to JJ Schwarz loaded the bases.

Maldonado chopped a ball over third base to bring home a pair of runs for a 5-1 lead.

Deacon Liput notched his second hit of the day in the fifth inning with a RBI single to give the Gators a five-run advantage.

Guthrie hit a solo home run in the sixth inning to make it 7-1. He now has four home runs on the season after hitting just three total in his first two years on campus.

Alabama finally knocked Jackson Kowar from the game in the seventh inning with a two-out rally that ended with four runs coming in to make it 7-5. Cobie Vance provided the big blow with a three-run double down the left field line.

Fortunately for the Gators, the offense picked up Kowar in the bottom of the inning. Larson led off with a single to left and Schwarz launched a bomb to left field - his ninth of the year - for some insurance.

Maldonado followed with a solo shot of his own to make it 10-5. It was the first time Florida hit back-to-back home runs since March 23, 2012 when Mike Zunino and Brian Johnson homered against South Carolina.

Nick Horvath and Garrett Milchin combined for 2.1 scoreless innings out of the bullpen to finish off the 10-5 win.

POSTGAME QUOTES

Head Coach Kevin O'Sullivan

"I really thought that Jackson battled today, after giving up a run in the first he battled there and we played good defense behind him the whole day. Just tried to get him through the seventh because I thought he earned the right to get through that inning and try to finish the seventh.

"The biggest thing of the day was the offense. We answered every time, gave up a run in the first and scored two in the second. The run in third and two runs in the fourth I think were two outs, nobody on. Then we gave up four in the bottom of the seventh and answered back with three more in the top of the eighth. We've just been swinging the bats really well. It's not easy to win this time of the year against anybody, let alone a SEC team on the road. We'll pack up and go home, give the guys off tomorrow and practice Tuesday and Wednesday and get ready for a really good Kentucky team. Can't ask for anything more, we're playing for a chance to win the SEC regular season and we've got a one-game lead with three to go at home."