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Florida Athletics | April 27, 2014

Ryan Larson walk-off single sends No. 14 Florida to sweep of Missouri

  Ryan Larson is mobbed by his teammates after hitting a walk-off single.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Freshman Ryan Larson delivered the game-winning single with two out in the 10th inning to lift No. 12 Florida (30-15/15-6 SEC) to a 6-5 victory against Missouri (19-24/6-15 SEC) and a sweep of the weekend series on Sunday. The Gators’ eighth-consecutive win in league play gives them a two-game lead in the SEC race.

Missouri righty Peter Fairbanks (4-5) retired the first two Gators in the 10h inning before Zack Powers (2-for-5) singled up the middle. After Powers moved into scoring position with his first stolen base of the season, the Tigers intentionally walked A.J. Puk. Larson (2-for-2) stepped to the plate and roped a single into center field that brought Powers across with the winning run. UF improved to 6-2 in extra-inning games and boosted its record to 12-6 in one-run contests this year. Bobby Poyner (4-3) worked four scoreless innings, scattering two hits, to collect the victory.
Florida grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a ground-rule RBI double by Taylor Gushue (2-for-5) and an RBI grounder by Braden Mattson. With one down, Richie Martin drew a walk and Harrison Bader was hit by a pitch from John Miles. Gushue roped his team-leading 13th double to right field to bring home Martin and Mattson plated Bader with a ground ball to shortstop.

Missouri used a two-out rally in the second inning to take a 3-2 advantage. Young retired the first two batters of the frame before walking junior Jake Ivory and yielding a single into left center by senior Kendall Keeton (3-for-5) that gave the Tigers runners on the corners. Freshman Jake Ring singled up the middle to cut the deficit in half and Anderson moved the visitors in front with a double down the left-field line that prompted a pitching change. Sophomore Eric Hanhold replaced Young (1.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R) and walked Peel before Missouri executed a double steal for two runners in scoring position. The right-hander had Everett fly out to end the frame.

The Gators answered with the tying run in the home part of the inning on an RBI single by freshman John Sternagel after freshman Buddy Reed had reached on a one-out error and stole second base.

Everett started the fifth with a double down the left-field line and moved to third on a wild pitch before a double to left field by Kelly gave the Tigers a 4-3 lead. Justin Shafer took over for Puk (1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R) and retired Howard on a fly ball before uncorking a wild pitch that moved Kelly to third base. Shafer rebounded to strike out sophomore Josh Lester and had Ivory ground out to preserve the 4-3 count.

Missouri added another run in the sixth inning to take a 5-3 lead. Shafer recorded the first two outs before yielding a flare into center field by Anderson. After a wild push moved Anderson to second, a throwing error on Peel’s infield hit by Sternagel enabled Anderson to score.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Gators knotted the game at 5-5 and had the bases full with one out but could not pull ahead. Martin led off with a bunt single and went to third on a throwing error on the play by Howard and Bader followed with an RBI single up the middle to narrow the gap to 5-4. Gushue stroked a single into right center that pushed Bader to third and the Tigers summoned sophomore Breckin Williams for Miles (5.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 ER). Mattson tied the game with a base-knock up the middle and a sacrifice attempt by Powers instead forced Gushue at third base for the first out. A single into left field by Puk loaded the bases with one down and junior Keaton Steele replaced Williams (0.1 IP, 2 H). The right-hander had junior pinch hitter Mike Fahrman ground into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play to keep the game tied.

Larson led off the Gators’ ninth with a single up the middle and Sternagel laid down a bunt before Turgeon was walked intentionally. Although a fly ball into right field by Martin advanced Larson to third base, Bader flew out to center field to provide the fans with free baseball.

In the 10th, Ivory walked with one down and Keeton followed with a single through the left side of the infield. Poyner escaped the jam by having Ring hit into a 4-6-3 double play.

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