Entering Friday night’s showdown in Starkville, Mississippi, the No. 1 Florida Gators had already clinched a share of the SEC title, and they were able to use this weekend’s series as a test for their pitchers before the postseason.
If Friday's 12-4 loss to the Mississippi State Bulldogs (30-24, 14-15 SEC) was any indication, that test has failed. Both Jack Leftwich and Andrew Baker took the mound through the first five innings and let up all 12 of the Bulldogs’ runs on 12 hits.
Pretty forgettable day. However, not all was bad for the Gators (41-14, 20-9 SEC) on Saturday. A few of Florida’s featured hitters came through in an attempt to make a game out of the blowout.
Here’s a look at who performed well in Game 2 and who could be considered Florida’s offensive MVP:
While most of UF’s roster struggled on Saturday, sophomore right fielder Wil Dalton did not.
The Spring Hill, Tennessee, native reached base on three of four at-bats, including a double in the top of the second to put catcher/first baseman JJ Schwarz in scoring position.
His other hits came at the leadoff position with a single in the top of the sixth and a double in the top of the eighth.
While he didn’t bring any runs around to score, Dalton crossed home plate twice.
His 3-for-4 performance, while the best average of the game, was overshadowed by MSU first baseman Tanner Allen’s 3-for-5 night with a double, a home run and three RBIs.
While Dalton led the Gators with three hits, second baseman Blake Reese wasn’t two far behind with two of his own.
The first put Florida’s second run on the board. In the top of the second, Reese doubled down the left field line to bring in Dalton from second to tie the score at 2-2.
His second came in the top of the sixth. With two outs, Reese singled to first base, sending left fielder Austin Langworthy to second.
While he didn’t have as many hits as Dalton, Reese was one of three Gators to record RBI’s. For someone who hasn’t been consistent all season -- he was hitting .249 before Friday -- Reese’s 2-hit game could be a sign of what’s to come for the postseason.
Left fielder Austin Langworthy had only one hit Saturday night, a solo shot in the top of the fourth to set the score at 6-3.
But his other at-bats put him in consideration for Florida’s offensive MVP.
In the second inning, Langworthy sent a sac-fly to left field that brought Schwarz in from third. His next plate appearance was the home run, then he reached on a fielder’s choice in the sixth.
And while Dalton had the most hits on the team, Langworthy had the most RBIs at two.
On a night where runs were scarce for the Gators, the sophomore managed to get something going for Florida.
You can follow Jake Dreilinger on Twitter @DreilingerJake or contact him at email@example.com.
Left fielder Austin Langworthy's walk-off home run in UF's 3-2 win over Auburn in the bottom of the 11th inning sent Florida to the College World Series for the fourth-consecutive season.