Gators defeat FAU, big series ahead against Tennessee

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Gators are riding a two-game winning streak heading into a pivotal three-game series against No. 3-ranked Tennessee at Condron Family Ballpark. With three weeks left in the regular season before the SEC Tournament, the Gators (23-21, 9-12 SEC) are tied with Alabama for the ninth seed.

On Tuesday night, the Gators pushed their winning streak to two games with a 10-8 victory over the Owls (22-20) at Condron Family Ballpark.

“Not surprised the way it ended there the way the season has gone, but this time of the year, wins are extremely important,” Gators coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “Even though we made it interesting at the end, there were some positive things.”

After a 90-minute rain delay, the Owls quickly jumped on the Gators, scoring two runs in the first inning. 

It didn’t take long for the Gators to respond, though. Luke Heyman hit a two-RBI single to drive in Colby Shelton and Jac Caglianone. The Gators took the lead with Heyman scoring from third on a sacrifice fly by Cade Kurland.

Pitching errors in the second inning led to the Owls and the Gators replacing their starting pitchers after each of them threw just 1 1/3 innings.

Kurland extended the Gators’ lead with a solo home run to left field in the bottom of the third inning. Sophomore Brody Donay drove in an additional run with an RBI single to plate Hayden Yost from second base, putting Florida up 5-2.

The Owls didn’t wait long to score again, with a two-RBI triple by junior John Schroeder in the fourth inning.

The scoring fest continued in the bottom of the fifth, with an RBI double from Donay and a two-run home run by Ty Evans, which increased the Gators’ lead to 8-4.

The Owls cut into the Gators’ lead, scoring two runs in the sixth. The Gators tacked on one run in each of the seventh and eighth innings before the Owls made it close with two runs in the top of the ninth.

“We had a three-run lead going into the bottom of the eighth, just to really manufacture one more run to have a four-run lead makes all the difference in the world,” O’Sullivan said. “Your opponent, they get bases loaded like they did, one guy runs into a ball, you got a tie ballgame instead of losing the lead. And we’re home, we still get the last at-bat but that last run was really important for us.”

The Gators host No. 3 Tennessee in a three-game series beginning at 7 p.m. ET Thursday on ESPN2.

Rhiannon Thomas
Rhiannon Thomas
Rhiannon Thomas is a sophomore at the University of Florida, majoring in Sports Journalism. Her favorite sports include baseball, college football and Premier League soccer. Follow her on X (Twitter) @RhiannonTThomas.

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