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<p>Jonathan India signals to his teammates during Florida's 5-4 win against William &amp; Mary on Feb. 17, 2017, at McKethan Stadium.</p>

Jonathan India signals to his teammates during Florida's 5-4 win against William & Mary on Feb. 17, 2017, at McKethan Stadium.

The fans at Sewell-Thomas Stadium couldn’t help but applaud for Jonathan India.

With their Crimson Tide losing 10-5 in the bottom of the ninth against No. 7 Florida, the Alabama faithful had little to be happy about on Sunday afternoon.

However, when a ground ball from Taylor Poe was blasted towards the left side of the infield, the Gators third baseman gave those in attendance a play to remember.

After Poe smashed a 1-2 pitch from UF’s Nick Horvath near the third-base line, India turned to his right and fully extended to snag the grounder on a diving stop.

The Coral Springs, Florida, native then sprung to his feet and completed the play on a strong throw to first baseman Christian Hicks, leading the fans in Tuscaloosa to stand up and cheer in appreciation for India’s defense.

The Gators (38-14, 19-8 SEC) secured the win just four pitches later, finalizing a three-game sweep over Alabama behind 12 hits, six walks and three home runs.

Sophomore right fielder Nelson Maldonado led all UF batters with a 2-for-2 outing at the plate, hitting one home run and drawing an additional three walks to register a team-high three RBIs.

Juniors Dalton Guthrie and JJ Schwarz were the other two Florida players to go deep in the contest, with Guthrie hitting a solo shot in the sixth inning off Garrett Suchey and Schwarz crushing a two-run blast in the eighth inning off Sam Finnerty.

“We’ve just been swinging the bats really well,” coach Kevin O’Sullivan said in a release. “It’s not easy to win this time of year against anybody, let alone an SEC team on the road.”

On the mound for the Gators, starting pitcher Jackson Kowar continued his solid sophomore campaign after holding Alabama to one run through the game’s first six innings.

The 6-foot-5 right-hander did fall into some trouble in the bottom of the seventh, giving up a double to Cobie Vance with the bases load to allow all three men on base to score.

Horvath then entered the contest out of the bullpen and concluded the fame with a strikeout against Chandler Taylor, ending the only serious scoring threat Alabama posed throughout the entire afternoon.

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Sunday’s 10-5 victory over the Crimson Tide (19-32, 5-22 SEC) was the final game of a weekend series that saw the Gators outscore their conference foe 25-12.

UF won Friday night’s outing 2-1 following a solid outing from junior Alex Faedo on the mound and a game-winning sacrifice fly from Maldonado in the top of the ninth.

Florida then poured it on offensively on Saturday, defeating Alabama 13-6 after every player in its lineup recorded at least one base hit. Senior right fielder Ryan Larson led all batters with four RBIs.

The Gators now enter the final week of the regular season in first place in the SEC standings. Kentucky and LSU are each one game behind UF at 18-9, while Mississippi State is two games behind at 17-10.

Florida will face the Wildcats on Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Gainesville to try and secure its first regular-season conference championship since 2014.

“Can’t ask for anything more,” O’Sullivan said. “We’re playing for a chance to win the SEC regular season and we’ve got a one-game lead with three to go at home.”

 

Contact Dylan Dixon at ddixon@alligator.org and following him on Twitter @dylanrdixon.

Jonathan India signals to his teammates during Florida's 5-4 win against William & Mary on Feb. 17, 2017, at McKethan Stadium.

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