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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Gators upset by Missouri on the road

Florida lost in extra innings

Florida freshman Luke Heyman rounds the bases during the Gators' 3-0 win against Florida A&M Friday, June 2, 2023.
Florida freshman Luke Heyman rounds the bases during the Gators' 3-0 win against Florida A&M Friday, June 2, 2023.

The Gators offense had recorded just one hit the entire contest. 

Down by one run in the eighth inning, sophomore catcher Luke Heyman stepped up to the plate. In one swing, Heyman knotted the score at one run apiece. 

The catcher hit a solo home run to deep left field. Although, it wasn’t enough firepower for the Gators offense, which eventually fell in extra innings.

The No. 6 Florida Gators (17-12, 6-4 SEC) lost to the Missouri Tigers (13-18, 2-8 SEC) 2-1 Friday night at Taylor Stadium. Florida recorded just two hits the whole game.

On a night where the Tigers batted 2-17 with runners in scoring position and 0-10 with two outs, they still won. Missouri catcher Jedier Hernandez hit a walkoff single in the 11th inning to wrap up the contest and earn the Tigers’ second win in conference play this season.

The Gators pitching was fantastic all night despite the loss.

Former closer Brandon Neely made his third start for the Gators this season and had arguably his most impressive outing to date. The former All-SEC closer pitched five innings and surrendered just one run on four hits.

In the first inning, Neely surrendered a leadoff triple to outfielder Jeric Curtis, who was quickly driven home a batter later. After that, Neely tallied a 1-2-3 inning and allowed just two hits in his remaining four innings.

The junior pitcher was followed by sophomore reliever Cade Fisher, who made his third start in relief this season. Fisher began the year as the Gators’ Friday starter, a coveted position for any of Florida’s pitchers and rarely offered to a player who had made just two starts the previous season.

Fisher’s time starting on the hill was short-lived. Four of his six outings he allowed more than four runs and he only made it past the fifth inning once.

But on Friday night, he was fantastic out of the bullpen. Fisher pitched two scoreless innings and struck out four batters while allowing just one walk. He set up freshman reliever Luke McNeillie, who followed with an outstanding performance until his final inning of work.

McNeillie pitched 3 ⅓ innings and allowed just one run, the winning run. It was the first score McNeillie allowed in his last six starts.

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It was a forgettable night for the Gators’ offense, which recorded just two hits the entire contest. Tigers starting pitcher Logan Lunceford pitched five scoreless innings and allowed just one base runner in his outing. 

Lunceford was followed by right-hander Carter Rustad. The fifth-year righty pitched five innings out of relief and surrendered just one run — on the Heyman solo shot —- and allowed just one hit total. 

Contact Luke Adragna at ladragna@alligator.org. 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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