The No. 4 Florida Gators (22-6, 4-4 SEC) split a Friday doubleheader with the Alabama Crimson Tide (14-11, 4-4 SEC) after the opening game on Thursday was washed away by rainstorms in Gainesville.
The Gators needed eight pitchers to get out of the first game but ace Logan Shore saved the pitching staff with his first career complete game, throwing nine innings of one-run baseball in the night cap.
J.C. Wilhite’s RBI single sparked a three-run 10th inning for the Crimson Tide as they took the delayed series opener 12-9 in extra innings.
The Gators got off to a hot start, just what they needed following a series loss at Ole Miss a week ago with a run in each of the first two innings. Aaron Rhodes allowed a double to start the fourth inning and was replaced on the mound by Shaun Anderson. Alabama cut into the lead two batters late with a RBI single but Anderson would navigate through the rest of the inning without allowing any more damage.
Mike Rivera’s two-run home run got the run back, plus one, when he launched an 0-1 offering over the wall in left field after a JJ Schwarz walk.
Alabama scored one more in the fifth inning before unloading on the Gators in the seventh.
A one-out single was followed up with a walk and both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Will Haynie doubled home both runners and the flood gates were opened. Alabama would score seven runs in the inning as the Gators needed four pitchers to get out of the mess.
The Gators scored three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning and two more in the eighth to tie the game. Closer Taylor Lewis worked a perfect ninth frame but couldn’t keep it going in extra innings. Lewis three runs on four hits in the 10th and Florida went down in order to lose their third consecutive weekend opener.
Shore made it out of the first inning without allowing a home run, something he could not say in each of his previous two starts.
” We used a lot of guys early in the first game, so I needed to go out there and try to save some of the bullpen for tomorrow and try to win a ballgame,” Shore said.
Trying to give their best pitcher a pick-me-up, the Gators’ offense went to work in the first frame, scoring five runs on seven consecutive hits to put Alabama on their heels.
Shore gave up a run in the bottom of the inning but was lights out the rest of the night.
“I think that is the best start Logan has had all year,” manager Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We needed an outing like that because we used a lot of our pitchers in the first game. He delivered.”
Jeremy Vasquez capped the scoring off with his first career home run in the fifth inning, giving Florida their 8-1 lead that they would hold on to, evening the series at a game apiece.