KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Starter Alex Faedo pitched seven strong innings allowing just one run and catcher Mike Rivera had a career-high four RBI in Florida's 9-3 win over Tennessee on Sunday afternoon at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Florida (40-8, 16-7 SEC) took the series over Tennessee (25-22, 7-16 SEC) with wins on Friday and Sunday. The 2016 Gators' team has now reached 40 wins faster than any other team in school history, taking just 48 games to accomplish the feat. The previous best was 52 games to reach 40 wins by the 1996 squad.
Florida got on the board first for the third time in the series, taking a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Peter Alonso led off the inning with a single, then made it to second on a ball hit to short by Nelson Maldonado that was dropped by the second baseman. A walk to Deacon Liput loaded the bases. Mike Rivera lined a 2-0 pitch to center field to score Alonso from third.
The Vols tied the game in the bottom of the third after Brodie Leftridge tripled to left center and scored on a wild pitch.
The Gators responded in the next frame, taking advantage of some UT miscues to plate three runs. Maldonado singled to left then Liput reached on an errant throw. After a double steal put the runners on second and third, Rivera picked up another RBI with a groundout to second.
Nick Horvath, who entered as a defensive replacement in the third inning, drew a walk then stole second to put another pair of Gators in scoring position. Dalton Guthrie stepped to the plate and broke an 0-for-14 hitless streak with a two-RBI double down the left field line to give Florida a 4-1 lead.
The Gators extended the lead in the sixth as Rivera continued to carry the offense. Liput led off the inning with his second walk of the day to set up Rivera, who drilled his eighth home run of the season into the left field bleachers. The two-run homer gave Rivera a career-high four RBI on the afternoon.
Florida extended its lead to 9-1 in the eighth inning. Maldonado singled for his second hit of the day and Rivera reached on an error to put two on with two outs. Horvath, who has only been swinging from the left side of the plate for the past few weeks, connected on a 2-0 pitch for his second home run of the season - his first from the left side of the plate.
In the eighth inning, Tennessee got a pair of runs off the Gators bullpen with a RBI ground out by Chris Hall and a RBI double from Nick Senzel.
Florida starter Alex Faedo finished the day allowing five hits and one run through seven innings while striking out 10 in the victory. Reliever Shaun Anderson came in to finish things off and pitched 1.2 scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts.
Florida returns home for its final four home games of the regular season, hosting USF on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. and hosting a three-game series with Vanderbilt beginning Friday.