Gators capture SEC East Lead

The Florida Gators (23-13, 9-6 SEC) and the South Carolina Gamecocks (28-7, 8-7 SEC) entered a three game tilt this weekend tied atop the SEC East. Heading into the weekend tilt, the Gamecocks posted a stellar home record — suffering just one loss at Carolina Stadium all season — and the two teams would fight it out to see who would take the early lead of a very tight division and conference race.

After falling on Friday night, the Gators stormed back to take the next two games of the series and sole possession of first place in the SEC East.

“Yesterday and today we kind of did the same thing. We got a little rally going in the eighth inning and never gave up,” Kevin O’Sullivan said of the series on Sunday afternoon. “We put some great swings on the ball and it ended up being a great weekend for us.”

After leveling the series on Saturday, Florida sent Danny Young to the hill on Sunday. Young worked two innings before O’Sullivan turned to his bullpen, using seven pitchers in total.

The Gamecocks took a 4-2 lead into the eighth inning before the Gator bats woke up and went to work. A trio of one-out singles from Taylor Gushue, Braden Mattson and A.J. Puk loaded the bases for freshman Pete Alonso. Alonso lined a 2-0 offering toward shortstop that was too hot for Marcus Mooney. Alonso was credited with a fielder’s choice but Gushue and Mattson came around to score. Zack Powers doubled to left center, driving in the tying run three pitches later. Buddy Reed singled (his third hit of the afternoon) and Florida took a 6-4 advantage.

Just like the Gators fought back in the eighth, South Carolina would attempt to fight back in the bottom of the inning.

Eric Hanhold came into the game in the eighth and promptly allowed a home run to Jordan Gore on Hanhold’s first pitch of the inning. The sophomore from Palm Harbor settled down not allowing a hit the rest of the way to earn his second save of the season.

The Gators have one more road game to cap off an eight-game road trip this Tuesday against Florida Gulf Coast in Fort Myers, Florida, before they will play host to Georgia this weekend at McKethan Stadium.

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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