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UF Baseball: Florida Drops Series to No. 6 Tennessee

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY MORGAN PERRY

The Gators will return for the final game of the series tomorrow at 1 p.m. ET

The twelfth-ranked Florida baseball team dropped its second straight conference road series in a 5-4 decision against the sixth-ranked Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday night.

The Gators (20-11, 5-6 SEC) struck first, opening up a three-run lead in the fourth inning. Cleanup hitter Sterlin Thompson got things started for Florida, sending the ball deep over the right-field fence for a solo bomb to put a run on the board with only one out.

Jud Fabian knocked a single into left field, and Jordan Butler followed up with a double to the opposite side to put runners on second and third with Josh Rivera, who entered the Gators lineup after sitting the game prior, up to bat. After an early 1-1 count, Rivera watched the next three balls to secure the walk and load the bases.

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Freshman Jordan Carrion stepped up for Florida, rocking a single up the middle to bring Fabian and Butler home, while forcing Tennessee to go into the bullpen earlier than anticipated.

The Gators made it five and a half innings without allowing Tennessee a run before the Volunteers exploded in the bottom of the sixth to add five to the board. Florida walked four straight batters and went through two pitching changes before recording an out.

Entering the ninth inning, the Gators were down two runs when Jacob Young stepped up to the plate and delivered a double through right center. Kirby McMullen sent the ball into deep left field on the next pitch to bring Young home and make it a one-run game, but Tennessee’s Kirby Connell had other plans, recording three strikeouts in the inning to secure the series for the Volunteers.

The Gators will return to Lindsey Nelson Stadium tomorrow for one final matchup before heading back to Gainesville. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET and will air on SEC Network+.

FROM COACH KEVIN O’SULLIVAN

On the final inning…
“We went down looking three times there in the ninth. We just have to get better and, obviously this is a tough one, but we have to come back tomorrow.”

On the sixth inning…
“(Luc) Lipcius was hitting .050 versus lefties this year. I think he had a 46% swing and miss on the slider, so we just hung a slider. He kind of snuck in the left field line and that was kind of the difference in the ball game. That was the last run they scored.”

On Florida’s issues on the road…
“I can’t answer that question. I don’t know. We just played at South Carolina, and this is the fifth road game in the SEC that we’ve played. We’ve just found ways not to win ballgames. As I said, it’s unfortunate. I thought the first five innings was about as good as we’ve played all year long.”

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