Despite going hitless through 6.1 innings, Tennessee pulled out a 6-4 win that secured the 3-0 sweep of Florida in Gainesville.
Christian Moore’s two-run home run in the top of the 11th inning broke the 4-4 tie and won the game for the Vols.
Florida starter Brandon Neely was the story most of the day, as he stymied the Tennessee bats through the duration of his start. I mean — he was superb. The freshman righty went seven innings and gave up just one hit, one run and one walk to one of the most statistically potent offenses in the country. Neely threw 57 of his 93 pitches for strikes and sat down eight Vols via K.
On the other side, the Gator offense did most of its work early — tagging Drew Beam for two quick runs in the top of the first inning. Beam walked two of the first three batters he faced, gave up a single and hit a batter in the first. The HBP forced in a run, and then UF hit a sacrifice fly to push across the second run that gave starter UF starter Brandon Neely a cushion to work with.
Neely didn’t allow a base runner until the third, when Moore drew a four-pitch walk with one out. In the next at bat, Moore advanced to second on a Neely balk. Cortland Lawson struck out swinging next, but then Christian Scott got hit by a pitch, and Tennessee had two men on with one runner in scoring position. Unfortunately, Jorel Ortega struck out swinging for the final out to snuff out the Vols’ chances to push through a run.
In the fourth inning, Florida made it a 3-0 game with a solo home run from Jac Caglianone. That made the fifth long ball Beam’s surrendered this year, and his fourth home run allowed in the last two series.
A walk to open the fifth was the last action of the day for Beam, who finished the day allowing three runs, three walks and four hits with just one strike out through four IP.
Caglianone hit a sac fly that scored Josh Rivera in the sixth — it was scored an unearned run due to a Trey Lipscomb error, and the Gators had a 4-0 lead through six.
Tennessee didn’t get its first hit until Drew Gilbert broke up Neely’s no-hit bid in the seventh. Lipscomb drove Gilbert home with a sacrifice grounder up the middle, but a Luc Lipcius strike out ended Tennessee’s inning in the next at bat.
Ortega kicked off the top of the ninth inning with a solo home run to make it a 4-2 game, and the Vols had some life, but Florida reliver Blake Purnell subsequently struck out three-and-four hitters Jordan Beck and Gilbert. This one’s a wrap, right? Nuh uh.
Lipscomb singled, Lipcius walked, Evan Russell singled, and then Christian Moore doubled in two runners to tie up the game. Florida stranded four runners in the next two innings, leading up to Moore’s game-winning home run in the 11th. Moore finished the day 2-4, with the home run and four RBIs.
Redmond Walsh didn’t have his best day — he walked three batters — but he didn’t give up a hit and shut the door with a strike out and two fly outs in the bottom of the 11th. He got some help from Christian Scott out in left field, who snagged this ball for the final out that was definitely heading over the fence for a home run.
With the win Sunday, Tennessee notched its fifth sweep in six SEC series and became the first team to sweep UF at home since 2013. The Vols get Xavier for the midweek game, and then Auburn comes to town next weekend.