Florida 7, MSU 5
—Bulldogs face Arkansas, which lost to Alabama in Game 1, at 9:30 a.m. Thursday (CSS)
—Florida moves on to face Alabama at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
Who did work?
MSU: Fr. RHP Evan Mitchell
Though he hadn”t started a game since April 17, Evan Mitchell gave the Bulldogs the solid start they needed.
The Freshman gave up two earned runs on five hits in five innings. He walked four and struck out five.
Mitchell had a couple of shaky moments in the game, including having runners on the corners in the first and getting behind on 3-1 counts to two of the first three batters he faced. Mitchell gave up a run that inning, and another in the fourth though he escaped major damage after walking the bases loaded and walking in a run.
Florida: So. DH Brian Johnson
Johnson only went 1-for-4, but his lone hit was the game-changer: a grandslam with no outs in the seventh.
Johnson”s shot didn”t look like it had enough to clear the wall, but it sailed long enough to give the Gators a 6-5 lead.
The Gators lead the SEC in home runs, so it”s fitting they rally off a homer in their first game of the SEC tournament.
1. The bottom of the seventh inning
Taylor Stark hit a batter and walked one to start the inning, prompting a pitching change from pitching coach Butch Thompson. Sophomore lefty Luis Pollorena, who was in line to start the game before Cohen went with Evan Mitchell, inherited the base runners and immediately gave up a single.
The big blow came with the bases loaded, as Florida”s designated hitter Brian Johnson launched a grandslam over the right field wall to give the Gators a 6-5 lead.
Pollorena got the next three batters out, but MSU”s offense mustered just one hit over the next two innings.
2. The top of the seventh
Before Johnson erased MSU”s three-run lead with a grandslam, the Bulldogs took advantage of a one-out, bases-loaded opportunity in the top of the seventh.
Jaron Shepherd grounded into what appeared to be a double play, but managed a fielder”s choice for a run.
Then, a wild-pitch from Steven Rodriguez brought in CT Bradford from third base to give MSU a 5-2 lead.
Though, with three on an one out, the Bulldogs might look back on that and rue the fact they didn”t get more runners across. MSU also left two stranded on one out in the first inning.