With two outs in the top of the third the floodgates opened as the Florida Gators (41-16) poured eight runs on the Auburn Tigers (35-24) to build an insurmountable lead in a win-or-go-home affair.
Florida didn’t leave the field until well after 1 am following their loss to Arkansas but the Gators were up and eating a pre-game meal at 9 am. The quick turnaround proved to be a non-factor for Florida, as they got on the board in the second inning when JJ Schwarz’s sacrifice fly scored Josh Tobias.
Logan Shore kept the Tigers off balance with a fantastic changeup and a fastball in the low 90s, retiring the side in order in the bottom half of the second.
Dalton Guthrie leaned into a fastball to reach first with one out before Buddy Reed struck out for the second out of the inning. Florida then barred down with two outs, as they had early in the season and pounded out five two-out hits. In total, Florida sent 12 batters to the plate, scored eight runs on seven hits and left one on base to take a commanding 9-0 lead.
Shore went back to work and provided the Gators with exactly what they needed out of their ace. The sophomore threw 7.2 innings, striking out 7, while allowing six hits and two runs to earn his seventh win of the season. Florida got just over an inning of work from Dane Dunning on Friday and needed five pitchers in total to complete their first game of the SEC Tournament. Shore’s performance allowed Kevin O’Sullivan to use just two pitchers and set the bullpen up for the rest of their run in Hoover.
Auburn trimmed the lead — and avoided a 10-run rule — with a run in the fourth inning. Florida responded with two runs of their own in the sixth to bring the run rule back into effect but Auburn once again avoided it in the sixth after a leadoff triple and a ground out.
Frank Rubio came on in relief of Shore and closed out the game.
The Florida Gators will get some time to rest and will play in the second game on Friday against the loser of the Arkansas-LSU matchup on Thursday.