GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida (19-9/6-3 SEC) used a pair of four-run outbursts and drew a season-high 10 walks to complete a sweep of No. 4 LSU (20-8-1/3-5-1 SEC), 11-7, on Sunday. It was the Gators’ fourth regular-season sweep of the Bayou Bengals in school history (1996, 2010, 2011, 2014) and head coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s club notched its fourth-straight win over a top-4 opponent after knocking off No. 1 Florida State last Tuesday and downing the Tigers three times this weekend. UF has taken 13 of its last 16 outings and is tied atop the SEC standings after three weekends of league action.
“I was really proud of the way we bounced back today after we fell behind," said O’Sullivan. "Every time LSU scored in the first three (innings), we answered in the bottom half. Then, obviously, some walks helped us on the fifth (inning). I’m really pleased on how we played this weekend; it was certainly a great week for us, playing some really, really good teams.”
Freshman left-hander Kirby Snead, who had pitched 5.1 innings all season, earned his first collegiate victory by tossing 4.2 scoreless innings in which he permitted two singles. He was supported by an opportunistic offense that included a career-high three RBI by John Sternagel and two-RBI performances by Peter Alonso, junior Mike Fahrman and Richie Martin.
“It’s great," said Snead. "I just came in and wanted to throw strikes and get (batters) out. I wasn’t focused on getting the win. I just wanted to help the team win today and get a sweep against a good team.”
Junior Kade Scivicque roped a two-out RBI single in the first inning off of right-hander Justin Shafer to score sophomore Alex Bregman with the game’s opening run.
The Gators answered against left-hander Zac Person (1-1) in the bottom of the frame on a two-out homer by Harrison Bader over the wall in left center.
LSU seized a 3-1 lead in the second inning on a two-run double by Jake Fraley (2-for-4) after a leadoff single by Tyler Moore and a double byConner Hale (2-for-4). After a sac bunt by Christian Ibarra, the Gators prevented Fraley from scoring on a relay from second baseman Casey Turgeon to catcher Taylor Gushue.
Sternagel brought Florida within 3-2 in the home part of the inning with a sacrifice fly after Braden Mattson (2-for-3, three runs) had a leadoff bunt single and Shafer followed with a double to left field.
Sean McMullen provided LSU with a 4-2 advantage by starting the third inning with a homer to left field, his second of the campaign. Snead took over for Shafer (2.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R) and retired the next three batters.
Florida plated four runs with two down in the bottom of the stanza to seize a 6-4 lead. Turgeon drew a leadoff walk, went to second on a bunt by Martin and swiped third base before scoring on Gushue’s infield hit. After Mattson walked, senior Nate Fury took over for Person (2.2 IP, 4 H, 5 R) and issued a free pass to Shafer that loaded the bases. Sternagel followed with another walk to bring home Gushue and Alonso ripped a two-run single to left field to give the hosts their first lead of the afternoon.
The Gators tacked on four more runs in the fifth, highlighted by a bases-loaded, two-run, pinch-hit single by Fahrman and a two-out, two-run double by Martin. Sternagel completed the Gators’ scoring with an RBI single with two down in the eighth. LSU scored three runs in the ninth on a sac fly by Ibarra and a two-run homer by junior Chris Sciambra.