Special to GC
Gainesville, Fla- Junior Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) (2-for-3) belted a walk-off homer with two down in the ninth inning to lift Florida (17-9/4-3 SEC) to a 2-1 victory over No. 4 LSU (20-6-1/3-3-1 SEC) on Saturday afternoon in the opener of a doubleheader at McKethan Stadium. Shafer’s game-ending round-tripper, his first big fly of the season, landed in the left-field bleachers and came off of LSU junior right-hander Aaron Nola (5-1).
Shafer’s heroics represented the first walk-off homer for the Gators since Ben McMahan connected against Georgia on May 15, 2010. Sophomore right-hander Aaron Rhodes (Venice, Fla.) (3-1) earned the victory after setting down both batters he faced in the ninth inning.
Junior Kade Scivicque (2-for-3) had given the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the first inning with a two-out homer off of sophomore righty Eric Hanhold (Palm Harbor, Fla.) into the left-field bleachers.
The Gators countered with a two-out solo shot by junior Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) in the third, marking just the second run surrendered by Nola this season. The homer was Turgeon’s second of the year, first since March 12 against Illinois State.
Scivicque drew a one-out walk in the eighth, ending the afternoon for Hanhold (career-high 7.1 IP, 7 H, 1 R). Senior Sean McMullen earned a free pass from sophomore southpaw Danny Young (Boca Raton, Fla.), who escaped the jam by inducing an inning-ending 1-4-3 double play on a grounder by junior Conner Hale (2-for-4).
- Sophomore RHP Eric Hanhold, making his first series-opening start, set a career high with 7.1 innings pitched and equaled his career best of three strikeouts.
- Junior Casey Turgeon raised his hitting streak to five games with a homer in the third inning.
- Sophomore Richie Martin (2-for-4) had his seventh double of the year to lead off the Gators’ sixth inning but was later thrown out at third base by LSU’s Alex Bregman on a fielder’s choice by sophomoreHarrison Bader.
- Sophomore Danny Young (1.0 IP, 1 BB) had his team-leading 15th appearance for UF.
- The Gators improved to 4-2 against top-25 teams this season.
- Florida played error-free baseball for the second game in a row and is now 9-2 this year without a fielding miscue.
- UF notched its sixth come-from-behind win of the year.
- LSU held a 7-6 advantage in hits.