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Monday, May 27, 2024

Gators annihilate Tigers in Columbia, 13-1

Florida recorded four home runs in the victory

<p>Jud Fabian rounds second base in a game against Jacksonville. March 2021. He passed Mike Zunino for fifth all-time in home runs during his career at UF on Tuesday against Stetson.</p>

Jud Fabian rounds second base in a game against Jacksonville. March 2021. He passed Mike Zunino for fifth all-time in home runs during his career at UF on Tuesday against Stetson.

Florida is officially in the lighter stretch of its schedule.

Back-to-back series wins against Kentucky and Mississippi State kickstarted a momentum shift for the Gators. The five-game winning streak they rode into Columbia, Missouri, only improved morale.

A 13-1 domination Friday can’t hurt, either.

In a game that wasn’t close early on, Florida (31-18, 12-13) wiped the floor with the Mizzou Tigers (25-21, 7-18), 13-1.

Sophomore starting pitcher Brandon Sproat, who emerged as Florida’s new ace after sophomore Hunter Barco was shut down for the season, looks good in his Friday-night outings.

In the first inning against the Tigers, Mizzou welcomed him to town with a solo home run, courtesy of sophomore left fielder Trevor Austin. After the opening frame, Florida stranded two runners in the top of the first, meaning UF trailed 1-0.

Then, in the second, the Gators found life from an unlikely source. Sophomore third baseman Colby Halter, who entered the game batting .167 in conference play, unloaded on a 2-1 count ball. With freshman right fielder Ty Evans on second base, the home run ball gave Florida a 2-1 lead.

Mizzou led for two outs.

The bats got right back to business in the third, and junior catcher BT Riopelle got it started with a leadoff single. Three pitches later, Rivera trotted around the diamond. His two-run jack was his third of the year, doubling Florida’s score. 

The fourth inning brought runs, too, coming in the form of three runs that were scored on two Mizzou errors. Junior center fielder Jud Fabian and sophomores Sterlin Thompson and Wyatt Langford all scored, bringing the score to 7-1.

Florida ended the game in the fifth inning. A five-run explosion, including a two-run bazooka missile from freshman designated hitter Jac Caglianone, highlighted the inning. UF also scored on a sacrifice fly out from Fabian and an RBI single for Riopelle.

Entering the sixth frame, the orange and blue wielded a 13-1 lead.

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Florida finally returned to earth in the seventh, not scoring a run, but Sproat had the job taken care of in the bottom half of the frame. The Pace, Florida, native quietly worked through 6.2 innings, allowing just three hits and one run while dealing seven strikeouts.

Two outs into the bottom of the seventh, Sproat was relieved by freshman arm Anthony Ursitti. The Fort Myers, Florida, native delivered a swinging K to close the side, the first of his three on the night.

Ursitti worked a clean eighth and ninth inning to close the blowout and secured a Friday-night win for the orange and blue.

A series victory is on the to-do list for Saturday, as freshman Brandon Neely assumes the mound for UF in the second game of the weekend series. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m.; the game will be broadcast on SEC Network+.

Contact Carson Cashion at Follow him on Twitter @CarsonCashion.

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Carson Cashion

Carson Cashion is a third-year sports journalism major at UF, and the sports editor at The Alligator for the 2022 summer semester. A native of Altamonte Springs, Carson spends his free time walking his dog, Baxter, and listening to good music. He is an avid Tennessee sports fan, and eagerly awaits watching one of his teams win a championship for the first time.

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