The LSU Tigers overwhelmed Florida’s pitchers after its staff held them to two runs on Saturday. The Tigers put up crooked numbers in the third and ninth innings in a 16-4 victory over the Gators Saturday night at Florida Ballpark.
The Tigers struck first when Brandon Sproat walked the lead-off batter and fell behind 3-1 to first baseman Tre’ Morgan, who then made him pay as he launched a pitch to right-center to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
Sproat bounced back the following inning by not allowing a base runner, but he unraveled in the third inning. The sophomore right-hander walked the lead-off hitter again, then Morgan doubled to put two runners in scoring position with no outs. LSU then scored a run on a sac fly and on an error by first baseman Kendrick Calilao to increase its lead to 4-0.
Coach Kevin O’Sullivan pulled Sproat for Timmy Manning after he allowed another walk. Sproat finished his outing, only going 2 1/3 innings while surrendering six runs, five earned runs, four hits and two walks.
But Manning didn’t fare much better, either. He entered and gave up a three-run homer and a solo shot to the first two LSU batters he faced in designated hitter Brayden Jobert and left fielder Gavin Dugas. The Tigers added another run in the fifth.
Florida finally broke the shutout in the sixth via a solo home run from third baseman Deric Fabian. Then Gators’ right fielder Sterlin Thompson blasted a two-run homer to right and Calilao doubled in a run to trim LSU’s lead to 9-4.
Florida failed to cut into the Tigers’ lead any further in the final three innings. LSU tacked on seven runs in the top of the ninth to increase its lead to 16-4.
The Gators only managed five hits in Saturday’s contest, and Thompson — who recorded two of them — was the lone bright spot. LSU held star center fielder Jud Fabian hitless. He went zero for four with a strikeout. Florida’s defense also committed two errors.
Florida and LSU return for the rubber match Sunday at noon EDT and can be streamed on SEC Network+.
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