GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- No. 1 Florida used a five-run fifth inning to defeat No. 10 Mississippi State, 8-2, on Friday night. The No. 1 Gators (29-3/8-2 SEC) raised their winning streak to six games and have notched 29 straight victories at McKethan Stadium with the series-opening success against the Bulldogs (21-9-1/6-4 SEC).
Junior right-hander Logan Shore (6-0) worked 5.2 innings to pick up the victory and was supported by a balanced offense in which eight of the nine UF starters contributed a hit. The Gators also ended MSU junior Dakota Hudson's (4-2) school-record stretch of 34.2 consecutive innings without yielding an earned run.
Mississippi State scored twice in the second inning to open the scoring. Freshman Elih Marrero had a one-out triple into right center field and sophomore Brent Rooker (2-for-3) was hit by a pitch for runners on the corners. Senior John Holland drove in Marrero with an RBI grounder and Rooker came in on a single up the middle by sophomore Ryan Gridley (2-for-4).
The Gators cut the deficit in half during the third inning, when freshman Jonathan India (1-for-4, two runs) scored on a wild pitch by Hudson. The right-hander had retired the first eight batters of the game before India reached on a fielding error by Holland at second base. Sophomore Dalton Guthrie (3-for-4) reached on an infield single to first base, with India taking third on the play. India put the Gators on the board with heads-up base-running during ball four to junior Buddy Reed.
Florida exploded for five runs on seven hits and batted around in the fifth to take a 6-2 lead. Entering tonight, Hudson had surrendered just five earned runs in 48.2 innings this season. Sophomore Jeremy Vasquez and freshman Nelson Maldonado (2-for-4, two runs) opened with back-to-back singles and India tied the game with a double into right center. After Guthrie walked, Reed put the Gators on top with a single into left field that scored Maldonado and sophomore JJ Schwarz (2-for-5, two RBI) followed with a two-run single that plated India and Guthrie. Freshman Deacon Liput delivered a one-out RBI single to bring across Reed.
In the top of the sixth, Rooker had a one-out single into left field and Gridley had a two-out infield hit that resulted on Bulldogs on the corners. Junior Kirby Snead was summoned for Shore (5.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 4 K) and had freshman Jake Mangum ground out to India on the first pitch to close the stanza.
The home team tacked on two more runs in the eighth to finalize the margin at 8-2. Junior Ryan Larson started the frame by being hit by a pitch and took third on a base-hit by Maldonado, who stole his first career base for a pair of Gators in scoring position. Guthrie roped an RBI single into left to bring home Larson and Maldonado scored the final run on a wild pitch by freshman Ethan Small.
After Snead tossed 2.1 innings of scoreless ball, sophomore Nick Horvath recorded the first two outs in the ninth and junior Frank Rubio recorded the game's final out for the Gators.
Head Coach Kevin O'Sullivan
"We had a really good approach to this game and you obviously need to. His (RHP Dakota Hudson) numbers just speak for themselves and obviously he's going to be a very high draft pick and he's going to pitch for an awfully long time. It was a great effort by our players. We had a great game plan, and it's easy to do that on paper and I talked about it before the game, but it's another thing when the players go out and actually execute the game plan. I am pleased with and proud of the way we played tonight."
"The difference in the ballgame was the fifth, when they had first and third with one out. They had the middle of the order up and we got a strikeout by Logan (Shore) and then we got the third out and they didn't score. Then, we came back and put up a five spot in the fifth. I thought (Jonathan) India had some really good swings, and Nelson (Maldonado) had a really good swing and really got it going, and then the bottom of the order, the 7, 8 and 9 slots, did a nice job. Those are the type of things that when you go up against these All-American pitchers, when you get a crack against them you've got to take advantage of it."
Junior right-hander Logan Shore
On Kirby Snead coming in:
"Over the last two weeks, he has done a great job. It makes it a lot easier to come out of the game when you know you have someone like that coming in behind you who will come in and strand runners. It was a great team effort. Our guys came in and figured out Dakota Hudson."
Junior left-hander Kirby Snead
On coming into tonight's game with two runners aboard in the sixth inning:
"We were up by four runs with two outs, and I was just focused on getting Jake Mangum out. Luckily, he swung at that first pitch, and we got out of it."
Freshman third baseman Jonathan India
On facing Dakota Hudson:
"He is a very good pitcher. We executed at the right time. With runners on first and second, we had to do something to move runners over, and we did. But, he is a very good pitcher. We were trying to lay off the off-speed and cutter. They are good pitches, so we were just being more selective. We were looking for the fastball, and we didn't miss that first pitch."
On scoring on the wild pitch in the third inning:
"I was trying to get on the board for our team, and I was trying to be aggressive. I saw the ball got away and that the catcher didn't know where it was. I just took off."
- Florida notched its 13th come-from-behind victory after overcoming a 2-0 deficit.
- The Gators extended their school-record home winning streak to 29 games.
- UF improved to 9-1 (.900) against ranked opponents and 7-1 (.875) against top-10 foes.
- Florida recorded 12 hits for the fifth straight game.
- The seven hits in the fifth inning marked the most hits by the Gators in an inning this season. The previous high was six hits in an inning vs. Harvard on March 11.
- Nelson Maldonado picked up the first stolen base of his Gator career.
- The Gators scored twice on wild pitches.
- Dakota Hudson gave up eight hits and six runs (five earned) in five innings of work to take the loss.
The Gators and Bulldogs meet in game two of the series tomorrow at 7 p.m. Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell have the call on the Gator IMG Sports Network and the game will be streamed on SEC Network+ with Nick Belmonte and Mick Hubert.