HOOVER, Ala. - The No. 1-seeded Gators topped the No. 8-seeded Tigers 5-4 in Game 7 of the SEC Tournament. This marked the third straight year the No. 1 seed won its opening game of the SEC Tournament, the longest streak since 2001-2003.
RHP Alex Faedo led the way for Florida, pitching the first six innings and recording seven strikeouts on the night. Faedo pitched the 305th strikeout of his career, the third most all-time in UF history.
"It was a good game," said Faedo. "Auburn has a good team, and they hit me pretty well early in the season. I wanted to go out and put our team in a better place to win the game."
The Gators struck first as Deacon Liput singled to left center, bringing in Mike Rivera from second in the bottom of the third. Rivera's run was unearned as he advanced to second on a fielding error.
Florida got the wheels turning in the fourth inning, adding three more runs. JJ Schwarz doubled down the right field line and reached home plate after a single by Jonathan India. Christian Hicks then doubled to center, sending India across home plate from first. The Gators continued to roll with an RBI single by Mark Kolozsvary to go up 4-0 to finish the frame.
The Tigers brought Blake Logan across the plate in the seventh, scoring their first run of the game. Auburn's rally continued with a double to right field, closing the gap 4-3. Florida made three pitching changes in the inning and loaded the bases before rain interrupted. Dylan Ingram scored one more for the Tigers on a wild pitch to tie up the game 4-4. Auburn RHP Calvin Coker went on to strike out three in a row to close out the seventh inning.
Elliott Anderson entered the game to relieve Coker in the eighth, but loaded the bases and walked Hicks to bring in another run for the Gators with no outs. Gabe Klobosits took over the mound for Coker to finish the inning.
It was a slow start for both the Tigers and Gators. Auburn's Jonah Todd and Daniel Robert reached the bases in the top of the third, but Faedo and the Gators escaped. Both teams failed to score any runs in the first two innings.
"It was one of those nights that we scored just enough," said Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan. "Jonah Todd is a tough out. Those two guys at the top of their lineup, Todd and (Daniel) Robert, are really, really good hitters, and I knew we had to get through those two guys to win the ball game."
This was the first game of the SEC Tournament where neither team hit a home run.
UP NEXT: No. 8 seed Auburn will play the loser of Game 8 between No. 4 seed Arkansas and No. 5 seed Mississippi State on Thursday. No. 1 seed Florida will play the winner of Game 8 Friday. Both games will air on SEC Network.