Tuscaloosa, AL - Freshman Peter Alonso went 3-for-4 and drove in four runs as No. 12 Florida (33-15/18-6 SEC) finished off a weekend sweep of No. 20 Alabama (30-18/13-11 SEC) with a 13-3 victory on Sunday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Gators’ 11th-consecutive SEC win matched their school-record league winning streak from April 6-May 17, 1968, and was their first sweep in Tuscaloosa since 1988.
Kevin O’Sullivan’s club has a three-game lead on No. 16 Ole Miss overall and is four games ahead of No. 9 Vanderbilt in the Eastern Division with six games remaining in SEC play. Florida welcomes the Commodores to McKethan Stadium for three games starting on Thursday night.
Eight of the nine Gator starters chipped in with at least one hit toward UF’s 16-hit outburst, with Alonso, sophomore Harrison Bader (3-for-6, two RBI, two runs), freshman Ryan Larson (3-for-4, two runs) and junior Casey Turgeon (2-for-4) turning in multiple-hit efforts. Turgeon was a sizzling 8-for-11 (.727) in the series, with four walks, three runs, two RBI and a pair of sacrifice hits out of the leadoff spot. Freshman Kirby Snead (2-0), the second of five UF pitchers, collected the triumph.
Junior Mike Fahrman drove in junior Braden Mattson with a two-out double to open the scoring in the second inning. Mattson had reached on a walk with one down from junior Jon Keller (5-2). Larson delivered a single into right field but Fahrman was thrown out at the plate.
The Gators tallied four runs on three hits and two walks to take a 5-0 lead in the third. Turgeon and sophomore Richie Martin (two RBI, two runs) drew consecutive one-out walks and Bader drove in Turgeon with an RBI single into right center. After a sacrifice fly by junior Taylor Gushue brought home Martin, Mattson singled for runners on the corners and Alonso smacked a double off the wall in left field for a five-run cushion.
Alabama answered in the home part of the inning with a two-out RBI single by sophomore Kyle Overstreet (2-for-4, two RBI) to narrow the gap to 5-1. Over four innings, redshirt junior starter Karsten Whitson scattered seven hits and gave up one run for Florida.
Alonso boosted the Gators’ lead back to five runs in the fifth with a run-scoring single. Bader reached on an infield hit and Gushue walked, bringing freshman Thomas Burrows in for Keller (4.1 IP, 6 H, 6 R). A fielder’s choice by Mattson forced Gushue at second, Alonso came through with an RBI single into right center field.
After Alonso belted a two-out solo homer in the top of the seventh for a 7-1 margin, the Crimson Tide countered with two runs to pull within 7-3. Consecutive singles by junior Ben Moore and redshirt junior Wade Wass (2-for-2) prompted a pitching change, as junior Ryan Harris replaced junior Bobby Poyner (1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R). Overstreet delivered an RBI double and senior Austen Smith lofted a sacrifice fly into center field before junior first baseman Zack Powers robbed freshman Casey Hughston (2-for-4) of a run-scoring hit to keep the visitors ahead by four runs. Florida added three more runs in both the eighth and ninth innings to finalize the 10-run margin.
· The Gators registered their fourth SEC sweep of the year (LSU, Georgia, Missouri and Alabama).
· UF posted its first road sweep in conference play since taking three games at LSU in 2011.
· Florida improved to 13-5 against ranked opponents this season.
· Alabama entered the weekend with a 19-6 record at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
· Karsten Whitson made his first SEC regular-season start today since May 19, 2012 at Auburn.
· The Gators drew eight walks this afternoon and played error-free baseball for the second-straight day.
The Gators return to McKethan Stadium to face No. 24 Mercer (34-11/16-5 A-Sun) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The game can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Mick Hubert.
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