After inclement weather pushed back the start of Florida’s three-game series against Tennessee from Friday to Saturday, the No. 1 Gators (28-6, 9-3 SEC) and the Volunteers (19-14, 5-7 SEC) squeezed in a doubleheader on Sunday at UT’s Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Both teams agreed to only play seven innings in each game due to time constraints.
However, extra frames were needed to settle the first contest of the day, with Florida eventually winning 6-4 in 11 innings.
The Gators’ duo of third baseman Jonathan India and right fielder Wil Dalton continued to stuff the stat sheet.
India extended his hitting streak to 18 games early in the afternoon with a single through the left side in the third inning.
India went 2-for-4 and had a crucial RBI in the fifth. He sent a deep shot to left field that just stayed in the confines of the ballpark. The double drove in a run and cut the Volunteers’ lead to one.
After India was intentionally walked in the top half of the seventh, Dalton drove him in with a two-run double tattooed off the base of the right-field wall, giving the Gators a 4-3 lead.
UF closer Michael Byrne proceeded to blow his first save of the season in the bottom half of the frame, giving up an RBI single to Tennessee right fielder Justin Ammons with two outs.
Four innings later, UF reclaimed the lead. A sacrifice fly from catcher JJ Schwarz and an error from UT’s defense allowed Florida to plate two runs during the frame and extend its winning streak to nine games.
After opening the day with a two-run, extra-innings victory over the Volunteers, the Gators fell flat in the second half of the doubleheader.
Tyler Dyson took the hill for the Gators as UF set its sights on its second straight SEC sweep of the season.
But Tennessee had different plans.
The Volunteers jumped at UF’s throat, taking advantage of two walks and a hit batter from Dyson in the third. Tennessee went on to score six runs in the inning, chasing Dyson off the mound as he failed to get through the frame.
UF attempted to mount a comeback against the Volunteers. Another Dalton home run, as well as an RBI double from first baseman Keenan Bell, pulled the Gators to within three in the bottom of the sixth.
In addition to that, India extended his hitting streak in his final at-bat of the game, getting on base with a single to right field to represent one of the three runs the Gators needed to tie the score in the seventh.
However, they only scored one off an RBI single from left fielder Austin Langworthy as the Volunteers picked up their first win against a No. 1 team since 2016.
”We gave ourselves a chance to win... and that’s really all you can ask for,” coach Kevin O’Sullivan said in a release.
Florida now has its eyes set on a matchup with No. 6 Florida State (24-9, 8-7 ACC). The Gators and Seminoles face off on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Tallahassee.
Follow Justin Ahlum on Twitter @justinn_case1 and contact him at email@example.com
Catcher JJ Schwarz drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th inning in Florida's 6-4 win over Tennessee in the first game of a doubleheader in Knoxville.