COLUMBIA, Mo.-Another strong start from Alex Faedo and early offense led Florida to a 4-3 win over Missouri on Friday night in the series opener at Taylor Stadium in Columbia, Mo. Florida (18-9, 3-4 SEC) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, then Mike Rivera's home run in the sixth made it 4-0.
Missouri (21-5, 4-3 SEC) scored three runs late before Michael Byrne closed it out. The Gators struck first with a run in the opening frame.
Deacon Liput led off with a single and came around to score on JJ Schwarz's RBI single up the middle. In the third, Florida added another run as a leadoff walk to Nick Horvath came back to bite the home team.
Horvath made it to third on Liput's second single of the night and scored after the second baseman booted a grounder from Schwarz. The game was quiet in the middle innings until Rivera hit his second homer in as many games, launching a two-run shot over the fence in left to give the Gators a 4-0 lead. Faedo's scoreless streak ended at 13.2 innings after Missouri got on the board in the seventh.
After a leadoff double from Alex Sample, the Tigers scored on Chris Cornelius' two-out, RBI single. In the eighth, Faedo got in trouble again after an error and hit batter set up Missouri with two on and no outs.
A 1-6-3 double play looked like it may have killed momentum, but a two-out double from Brian Sharp got another run back for Missouri.
The Tigers cut the lead to one after pinch hitter Brett Bond lined a single to right and Sharp came around to score. Byrne took over with two outs in the eighth and struck out the final batter on three pitches to end the threat. He then retired the side in order in the ninth for his third save of the season. Game two of the series at Missouri is Saturday at 3 p.m. ET. The game will air on SEC Network+ and the Gators IMG Sports Network.