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Florida Athletics | March 29, 2014

After opening walkoff, Florida sweeps doubleheader from No. 3 LSU

  The Gators’ pitching staff allowed three runs in 18 innings, with 10 strikeouts and three walks.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Right-hander Logan Shore (2-1) carried a shutout into the eighth inning as Florida (18-9/5-3 SEC) completed a doubleheader sweep of No. 4 LSU (20-7-1/3-4-1 SEC) with a 6-2 win on Saturday night. The Gators had claimed a 2-1 victory in the opener on a two-out homer in the ninth inning by junior Justin Shafer.

Florida used a pair of three-run outbursts in the fifth and sixth inning to boost its winning streak to three games, all over top-5 opponents. With the Gators up 3-0, Taylor Gushue increased the margin to six runs with a towering three-run homer in the sixth. By taking both ends of the double-dip, Florida notched its first series victory over the Tigers since 2011. Shore (8.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R) was within one out of a complete game before junior Bobby Poyner recorded the game’s final out to collect his second save.

Aided by a pair of errors with the bases loaded, the Gators broke through for three runs in the fifth inning against freshman left-hander Jared Poche’ (5-2) to seize a 3-0 advantage. Gushue drew a leadoff walk and was sacrificed over by junior Braden Mattson. After Shafer was walked intentionally, freshman John Sternagel singled through the left side to fill the sacks. A grounder by freshman Peter Alonso was mishandled by freshman second baseman Kramer Robertson, allowing Gushue to score, and a throwing error on the play enabled Shafer to come home. Freshman Ryan Larson extended Florida’s lead to three runs with a sacrifice fly.

The following inning, Gushue blasted a three-run homer into the last row of the left-field bleachers to increase UF’s advantage to 6-0. Sophomore Richie Martin drew a leadoff walk, took second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a bunt single by sophomore Harrison Bader. Gushue connected on his team-leading third homer to end the night for Poche’ (5.0 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 K).

Junior Conner Hale (2-for-4) ended a stretch of 14 consecutive batters retired by Shore with a leadoff single in the eighth inning and the Tigers used back-to-back RBI grounders by senior Christian Ibarra and Robertson to finalize the 6-2 margin.

Shafer’s game-one heroics represented the first walk-off homer for the Gators since Ben McMahan connected against Georgia on May 15, 2010. Right-hander Aaron Rhodes (3-1) earned the victory after setting down both batters he faced in the ninth inning.

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