Gators drop series opener to Vanderbilt in walk-off fashion

Florida baseball kicked off the Passover-Easter weekend series towards the Vanderbilt Commodores in Nashville on Friday night time with a heartbreaking 5-4 wander-off loss. The Gators held an early advantage but just could not hold on for a complete nine innings.

Jud Fabian got matters started early with a two-operate homer adhering to a direct-off total-count wander drawn by Colby Halter to open the match. The spherical-tripper was the middle fielder’s 14th of the season and fifth in SEC perform, offering the Gators an early guide.

Hunter Barco took the rubber for Florida and could not preserve the ‘Dores off the board in the base of the 1st body, making it possible for 3 straight singles that plated a operate immediately after putting out the first two batters he confronted. He escaped further more damage by sending down the sixth batter he noticed swinging.

The second inning went quietly for the Gators, as Josh Rivera drew a walk just after a leadoff lineout by Kendrick Calilao that was erased by a double enjoy grounded into by Mac Guscette. Vandy, nonetheless, tied things up in a 1- depend with a deep travel to still left by Calvin Hewett. Barco buckled down afterward to get the upcoming two outs before a stroll and an error on a pickoff endeavor set the pitcher in peril but he escaped the jam with a groundout.

Kevin O’Sullivan claimed that Barco was coming off staying unwell and seemed “a small operate down” early, so he put Nick Ficarrotta in to get started the third. A harmless solitary was all the Commodores could muster, and Florida reclaimed the direct in the major of the fourth. Calilao drove in Wyatt Langford, who opened the inning up with a double and moved about to third on a BT Riopelle fly ball to suitable.

Vanderbilt’s starter, Chris McElvain, was pulled immediately after a Deric Fabian solitary in the best of the fifth for sophomore right-hander Patrick Reilly. Langford eventually introduced Fabian dwelling on a single, but Reilly stored Florida quiet via the remainder of the frame.

Ficarrotta arrived back again out for the sixth but 4 innings of relief was much too a lot to talk to for. A four-pitch wander was adopted by a single and a sacrifice bunt, and then O’Sullivan brought in Phillip Abner to face a solitary batter. A sac fly to middle brought the score to 4-3, and in arrived Ryan Slater to shut things out with a strikeout. Unfortunately, Riopelle let a ball go less than his legs and to the backstop letting the tying run to arrive in devoid of a base strike.

Each individual workforce left two runners on foundation in the seventh, and Florida created yet an additional pitching change. This time it was the Gators’ ace-in-the-gap Blake Purnell for his 20th overall look of the time. The Commodores brought in junior Thomas Schultz in the eighth to counter.

The video game threatened to go into extras, but Sully at the time yet again leaned also tricky on a single of his most effective relievers. Purnell did not get one out in the bottom of the ninth thanks to a throwing error by Rivera. An intentional stroll loaded the bases, and Jack Bulger sent the fans household happy with a recreation-winning single into appropriate-heart.

The loss is not Purnell’s fault and it is not the very first time he’s been remaining stranded on the mound with no possibilities to bail him out. Pitching depth proceeds to be a enormous issue for this club and Sully carries on to misjudge the stamina of his leading bullpen arms.


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