Knoxville, TN - Tennessee clinched a berth in the 2014 SEC Tournament with a 7-5 victory over Florida on Saturday afternoon at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
The No. 13 Gators (37-19/21-9 SEC) had claimed the first two games of the series to secure the outright SEC Championship and were bidding for their first sweep in Knoxville since 1992 against the Vols (31-22/12-18 SEC).
Tennessee rallied from three different deficits and used a three-run fifth to punch their ticket to Hoover for the first time since 2007. Sophomore Andy Cox (5-1) yielded seven hits and five runs over seven innings to earn the win, with sophomore Andrew Lee working out of a jam in the ninth to collect his fourth save.
Junior Taylor Gushue (3-for-4, three RBI) broke the ice with a homer to start the second inning to left field. It was his team-best sixth big fly of the year.
UT evened the contest in the bottom of the frame on an RBI single by sophomore A.J. Simcox (2-for-3, two RBI). The Vols later had the bases loaded with two down and sophomore starter Danny Young used a fielder’s choice to escape the jam.
After junior Josh Tobias moved UF back in front with a round-tripper to left leading off the third inning, Tennessee answered with three runs on three hits to grab a 4-2 advantage. Freshman Nick Senzel tied the game with an RBI single into center field, sophomore Vincent Jackson (2-for-4) moved the hosts ahead with a base-hit through the right side and junior Tyler Schultz walked with the bases full. Freshman Shaun Anderson (0-2) replaced Young (2.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R) and induced an inning-ending double play.
Florida plated three runs with two down in the fifth on a RBI double by sophomore Richie Martin and a two-run double by Gushue to re-claim the lead at 5-4. Martin drove in Tobias, who had walked and stolen second and third. After sophomore Harrison Bader legged out an infield single for runners on the corners, Gushue roped his team-leading 16th double down the left-field line to clear the bags.
The Vols answered with three runs in the home part of the inning to take a 7-5 lead. Simcox tied the game with an RBI single and sophomore Derek Lance put the hosts on top with a base-knock through the right side. Freshman Tyler Deel came in for Anderson (2.0 IP, 4 H 3 R) and yielded a sacrifice fly to junior Will Maddox that wrapped up the scoring.
· Florida was foiled in its bid to equal the 2010 and 2011 SEC Championship squads with a 22-8 league record.
· The Gators were trying to sweep Tennessee at Lindsey Nelson Stadium for the first time since 1992.
· UF’s eight-game road winning streak was snapped, tied for the second-longest in school history.
· Taylor Gushue’s team-leading sixth home run in the second inning was his first since May 4 at Alabama. Josh Tobias followed with a homer the next inning for his second dinger of 2014 and first since March 18 against Florida State.
· Gushue finished SEC action with a .389 batting average and was 7-for-11 (.636) in the series with four RBI and three doubles.
· Tobias had his first two stolen bases of the year in the fifth inning, when he swiped second and third before scoring on a double by Richie Martin.
· Danny Young made his eighth start of the year, fifth in SEC play.
· Florida used a total of eight pitchers this afternoon and the teams combined for five errors (three by the Gators, two by the Vols).
· Mike Fahrman made his first start at catcher and Jason Lombardozzi had his first start at second base for Florida.