LSU rallies in the fifth to take series vs Gators

A game that began on Thursday night found a conclusion 43 hours later as the LSU Tigers (39-16, 19-10) defeated the Florida Gators (43-11, 18-10) 7-3 on Saturday afternoon. A storm postponed the game on Thursday night, while the teams met at their regularly scheduled start time on Friday before picking back up in the third inning on Saturday.

The much anticipated pitching matchup between Logan Shore and Alex Lange lived up to the billing. The LSU starter didn’t have great command Thursday night, but worked around a leadoff single to get out of the first inning without allowing a run. Shore induced three fly outs, working a clean first. Florida scratched out a hit in the second, but Lange worked around it, as too did Shore, who worked around a one-out double in his half of the inning. Lange walked one in the third but put another zero on the board. Shore earned a groundout and a surrendered a single to Cole Freeman, who stole second, before the sky opened up and play was suspended.

O’Sullivan turned to freshman Brady Singer on Saturday. The right-hander threw one pitch to Antonio Duplantis, a ball, to give LSU runners on first and second with one out. Back-to-back infield singles gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead before Singer settled down, striking out two to get out of the inning.

Florida would answer in the fourth. JJ Schwarz doubled to start the inning, moved to third on a Buddy Reed groundout and scored on a passed ball. LSU came right back to retake the lead when Greg Deichmann drove home Bryce Jordan with a single.

The wheels fell off for Singer in the fifth inning. A walk and two singles loaded the bases with no outs. Jordan Romero bounced a ball back to Singer on the mound. The pitcher fired to Mike Rivera to cut off the lead runner, Rivera popped off the plate towards the inside of the baseline and fired to first for a double play.

Florida’s sigh of relief turned into a gasp soon after.

Singer plunked Bryce Jordan, the 22nd time Jordan has been hit by a pitch this season, setting a new school record, to score a run. Singer then walked Bryce’s twin brother, Beau, handing another run to the Tigers. Nick Horvath came into the game and was welcomed by Deichmann, who took the first fastball he saw and deposited it into left-center for a bases clearing double, 7-1.

Florida scratched out two runs in its half of the sixth inning. Schwarz singled and moved to second on a Reed groundout. Jonathan India drove Schwarz in with a double to left and scored two pitches later on Nelson Maldonado’s single up the middle.

Parker Bugg took over for Riley Smith in the seventh inning and was unhittable. The reliever needed just eight pitches to set the Gators down in order in the seventh, 11 pitches to get out of the eighth and 10 in the ninth, retiring all nine batters he faced in order.

The loss is Florida’s second in a row, just the third time this season the Gators have lost back-to-back games and the series loss is just the third (Kentucky, Mississippi State) in 2016 as well.

Alex Faedo will take the ball for the Gators, who look to avoid being swept for the first time since 2013 (at LSU May 2-4).

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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC