An expected rain-soaked Sunday forced the Florida baseball team and Mississippi State into a doubleheader on Saturday at Alfred A. McKethan Stadium to complete the weekend series.
Florida’s late-inning comeback bid fell short Friday night against Mississippi State.
Florida dropped Game 1 against MSU 10-5 but avoided the sweep in the second game, winning 4-2.
Bulldogs batter Gators in Game 1
A wet and gloomy afternoon at McKethan Stadium mirrored the performance of Florida's pitching staff in the first half of the doubleheader.
UF sophomore starter Jack Leftwich's day started strong, as he held the Bulldogs (18-2, 2-1 SEC) to just one run heading into the top of the fourth inning.
That's when things started to unravel for the fifth-ranked team in the country.
No. 7 Mississippi State scored four runs in the next three innings to extend its lead to 5-0 in the top of the sixth, chasing Leftwich after 5.1 innings.
The right-hander gave up seven hits and five earned runs, including six strikeouts to go along with zero walks.
Florida's bats put it on the board in the bottom half of the sixth after junior left fielder Austin Langworthy sent one up the middle to score junior right fielder Wil Dalton to cut the lead to 5-1.
In the seventh, the Bulldogs scored two of their own off UF freshman relief pitcher Nick Pogue to make it 7-1.
The Gators (15-7, 1-2 SEC) rallied a bit in the bottom of the inning behind a ground-rule double from sophomore shortstop Brady McConnell, which scored freshmen Jacob Young and Cory Acton. An RBI single by freshman first baseman Kendrick Calilao cut the six-run lead in half.
A three-run inning for the Bulldogs in the top of the ninth squandered any opportunity for a potential Florida comeback, handing the Gators the series loss.
Gators prevent series sweep behind strong outing from Dyson
Junior starter Tyler Dyson picked up his third win of the season after a six-hit, two-run performance in Game 2 of Saturday's doubleheader.
Fresh off what was considered his best start of the season against Yale on March 10, Dyson rode that momentum by commanding his pitches and minimizing the damage of MSU's batting lineup.
"When you're coming into a game at home and you lose the first two of the series, you got to go out there, and you can't get swept at home," Dyson said. "You gotta come out here and get W's in this league…and we were lucky enough to come away with the win tonight."
The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning, but UF’s offense responded with strong fourth and fifth innings.
In the bottom of the fourth, with the game tied at one, third baseman Kris Armstrong gave UF the 2-1 lead after his double down the right field line scored Dalton.
Later in the inning, sophomore catcher Brady Smith hit one between third and short to score Armstrong, increasing the UF lead to 3-1.
A solo homer by senior designated hitter Nelson Maldonado put the Gators up 4-1 in the fifth, giving way to Florida's bullpen to save the lead.
Freshman reliever Christian Scott was brought in, pitching the final two innings. He surrendered only one hit while striking out three to secure a much-needed victory for his team.
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