The No. 1 Florida Gators (39-8, 15-7 in SEC play) dropped the second game of their weekend series against the Tennessee Volunteers (25-22, 7-16 in SEC play) by a score of 5-2.
For the third consecutive start, A.J. Puk (2-2, 3.07 ERA) earned a no-decision. It was a strenuous outing for Puk, as he threw 91 pitches in just 3.1 innings. Allowing two earned runs on just three hits, Puk's control got the better of him today as he hit one batter and walked SIX Vols. This is the highest amount of walks allowed by any Gator starter the entire year!
If one positive can be taken away from Puk's outing today, it's that his strikeout pitches were working. He fanned six batters to equalize his walk count for the afternoon.
After Puk's early departure, Brady Singer entered the game with the bases loaded. He would get a double play to get out of the inning, but the freshman would inevitably get tacked with the first loss of his collegiate career. He finished with a stat line of three earned runs allowed on two hits, one strikeout, and one hit batsman in two innings of relief out of the bullpen.
After 30 pitches, Singer was pulled in favor of lefty Kirby Snead. The junior threw well as he tossed 1.1 innings of one-hit ball while striking out one batter.
Following suit, freshman righty Michael Byrne made just his seventh appearance of the year as he relieved Snead. He was stellar, throwing 1.1 hitless innings and fanning a batter as well.
Offensively, four Gators had multiple hits in the contest. Yet, that only translated into two runs.
Hitting in the two-hole, Jonathan India continued to swing it well as he went 2-4 with a double and a run scored. In the cleanup spot, Peter Alonso again went 2-4 but had no RBI's or runs scored for the ledger this time around.
Batting behind Alonso in the five-hole, Buddy Reed recorded the only Gator RBI of the game as he went 2-4 with a triple and a run scored. Rounding out the multi-hit club and nearly emulating his freshman counterpart, Nelson Maldonado went 2-4 with a double.
The only other Gator with a hit was Mike Rivera, who went 1-4 with a single in the top of the eighth.
The No. 1 Florida Gators squandered their chance to tie No. 7 South Carolina (36-10, 16-6 in SEC play) for first place in the SEC East standings with the loss today. I have no tidbits for this game, so let's take a look at the rubber match.
Alex Faedo (8-1, 3.32 ERA) will be tasked with bringing home the series victory as he attempts to win his third consecutive start. I have no idea who Tennessee will be throwing.
Much is riding on the line for both teams in Game 3. For Florida, they need this win to keep up with South Carolina for the top spot in the SEC East. For Tennessee, pride is on the line as they look to avoid eight straight years of series losses to the Orange and Blue.
Game time for the rubber match is set for 2 p.m. It can be seen on the SEC Network and heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network.
*All stats accredited to FloridaGators.com
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