Gators walk-off against LSU

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).

Saturday Summary

  • 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.
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Raymond Hines
Back when I was a wee one I had to decide if I wanted to live dangerously and become a computer hacker or start a website devoted to the Gators. I chose the Gators instead of the daily thrill of knowing my next meal might be at Leavenworth. No regrets, however. The Gators have been and will continue to be my addiction. What makes this so much fun is that the more addicted I become to the Florida Gators, the more fun I have doing innovative things to help bring all the Gator news that is news (and some that isn’t) to Gator fans around the world. Andy Warhol said we all have our 15 minutes of fame. Thanks to Gator Country, I’m working on a half hour. Thanks to an understanding daughter that can’t decide if she’s going to be the female version of Einstein, Miss Universe, President of the United States or a princess, I get to spend my days doing what I’ve done since Gus Garcia and I founded Gator Country back in 1996. Has it really been over a decade and a half now?