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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Florida loses its first weekend series against Missouri

The Gators left eight runners on base

Gators baseball freshman left-hander Robert Satin pitches the ball in the team's 13-4 win over the University of North Florida on Wednesday, February 21, 2024.
Gators baseball freshman left-hander Robert Satin pitches the ball in the team's 13-4 win over the University of North Florida on Wednesday, February 21, 2024.

The Gators fought back from a two-run deficit but eventually lost after leaving five runners on base in the final three innings.

The No. 6 Florida Gators (17-13, 6-5) fell to the Missouri Tigers (14-18, 3-8 SEC) 4-3 Saturday at Taylor Stadium. Florida lost its first SEC series of the year. 

The Tigers earned a two-run lead in the first inning off of freshman right-hander Liam Peterson. 

Peterson surrendered a leadoff single and a walk to his first two batters. A wild pitch and a single plated two runs for Missouri. However, Peterson quickly settled in after a rough first inning.

The freshman pitched four-straight 1-2-3 innings and retired his next 14 batters. It wasn’t until the bottom of the sixth inning that the Tigers finally came back to life offensively.

Before the bottom of the inning, Florida trailed by one run due to an infield RBI single by senior outfielder Jaylen Guy. In the fifth, Guy hit a chopping ground ball to second base that was unable to be gloved by Tigers infielder Matt Garcia. It scored Gators sophomore catcher Brody Donay.

The top of the sixth inning began with a leadoff single by sophomore second baseman Cade Kurland. One batter later, two-way player Jac Caglianone belted a knee-high pitch that soared past the right field wall for a two-run home run. 

The Gators took a 3-2 lead, which was short-lived.

In the bottom of the sixth, Peterson surrendered two more runs on nearly an identical scenario from the first inning. The Tigers plated their first run on an RBI single, then scored another off a wild pitch. 

Missouri took a 4-3 lead, and despite being stifled by the Gators redshirt junior reliever Blake Purnell in the final two innings, held onto the lead with a solid performance from its bullpen.

In the top of the seventh, Florida utilityman Landon Russell hit a triple with one out and was unable to reach home. The Gators left three on base that inning.

In the eighth, Russell lined out to left field with runners on second and third with two outs. It marked two huge opportunities for the Gators to tie or take the lead, which they fell short of both times.

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Tigers graduate student left-hander Ryan Magdic pitched the final three outs of the contest and recorded a 1-2-3 ninth inning to cap off Missouri’s first conference series win of the season. Florida also lost its first SEC series of the year.

The Gators will return to action at 2 p.m. Sunday at Taylor Stadium for the final game of the weekend series. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network+.

Contact Luke Adragna at Follow him on Twitter @lukeadrag.

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Luke Adragna

Luke Adragna is a third-year journalism student and the Florida Gators football reporter at The Alligator. He is a cat ethusiast and completes the NYT Daily Mini in less than a minute each day.

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