Florida rallies late, beats No. 4 South Carolina in 13-inning thriller
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Florida’s Just Shafer hit a sacrifice fly in the 13th inning and alternated with A.J. Puk on the mound to keep No. 4 South Carolina off the scoreboard in extra innings, as the Gators evened the series with the Gamecocks on Saturday. The Orange and Blue trailed 3-0 after seven, and rallied with two in the eighth and one in the ninth before taking the lead in extras.
Puk (3-2) earned the win with a perfect 10th, two outs in the 11th, one out in the 12th and a 1-2-3 13th. The freshman from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, drove in Florida’s first run on a double after pinch hitting in the eighth and scored the second on shortstop Richie Martin’s RBI single. Second baseman Casey Turgeon drove in the tying run in the ninth with a RBI sac fly. Shafer recorded the last out in the 11th and two in the 12th.
The Gators began the 13th with consecutive singles from center fielder Harrison Bader and catcher Taylor Gushue. Bader would reach third and come around to score on Shafer’s RBI. Florida handed Gamecock closer Joel Seddon (1-1), who entered the game not allowing a run in 15 appearances, his first loss of the season.
Starting pitcher Aaron Rhodes (5.0, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO) and South Carolina starter Jack Wynkoop (7.0, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO) kept the game scoreless until the home team scored two in the fifth. The Gamecocks added another in the sixth and looked to be in control.
Left fielder Buddy Reed’s bunt single to lead off the eighth ended Wynkoop’s day in favor of Cody Mincey. Puk drove Reed home in the following at bat with a double to left and Martin scored Puk with a single to right, chasing Mincey and brining in Seddon. Ryan Harris (1.1, 1 H, 2 SO) stranded the bases loaded by forcing a ground out to third in the bottom half of the eighth.
Zack Powers led off the ninth with a pinch hit single and was lifted for pinch runner Jason Lombardozzi. Turgeon’s RBI sac fly tied the game. Harris struck out two in the ninth to send the game to extras.