KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee used a three-run sixth inning to beat Florida 5-2 on Saturday afternoon at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville. The win evens the series at 1-1 with the rubber match slated for Sunday at 2 p.m.
Tennessee (25-22, 7-16 SEC) took its first lead of the series in the third inning on a two-run homer from All-American Nick Senzel. Florida (39-8, 15-7 SEC) tied the game in the sixth but the Vols' three runs in the bottom of the inning proved to be the difference. The Gators managed just three hits over the final four innings.
Florida got on the board first, plating a run in the top of the first. Jonathan India, batting in the two-hole on Saturday, singled for the Gators first hit and made it to third on Peter Alonso's two-out single. Buddy Reed then legged out an infield single and India came home to score for a 1-0 Florida lead.
Tennessee got its first lead of the series in the third inning. Chris Hall got things started with a one-out single, then Nick Senzel put the Vols ahead with his eighth home run of the season for a 2-1 lead.
In the fourth inning, Tennessee drew three straight walks from A.J. Puk to load the bases with one out, forcing the Gators to go to the bullpen. Freshman right-hander Brady Singer took the mound to face Senzel. With a 2-1 count, Singer induced a grounder to Dalton Guthrie who turned a double play with Deacon Liput to escape the jam.
Reed laced a one-out triple to left center in the sixth inning to give Florida an opportunity to tie the game. After a strikeout by Mike Rivera, Reed was able to tie the game on a wild pitch.
It didn't take long for the Vols to regain the lead, as they scored a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning. Pinch-hitter Leno Ramirez reached base as Singer hit him with a 1-2 pitch, then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Derek Lance hit a ball right back up the middle for a RBI single and Brodie Leftridge followed with a triple into the right field corner to put Tennessee ahead 4-2. Hall then hit a sac fly to left to score Leftridge for a three-run advantage.
The Gators threatened in the eighth after Alonso and Rivera got aboard with a pair of singles. With two down, Nelson Maldonado drove a ball to the warning track but Vols center fielder Leftridge made a running catch to escape the inning.
Tennessee reliever Andy Cox entered the game in the sixth and held the Gators at bay, throwing 3.2 scoreless innings to save the game for the Vols.
The Vols' Zach Warren pitched 5.1 innings allowing two runs for the win. Puk allowed two runs in 3.1 innings but was done in by six walks on the day.
The Gators and Vols finale is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sunday. Sophomore right-hander Alex Faedo (8-1, 3.32) will take the mound for Florida. Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell have the call on the Gator IMG Sports Network and the game will be shown live on SEC Network+.