GAINESVILLE, Florida – The No. 1 Texas A&M Aggies found themselves in an early hole and were unable to climb out, dropping a 7-2 decision to the No. 3 Florida Gators at McKethan Stadium Saturday evening. The Gators clinched the series with the win.
For the 22nd time on the season, the Aggies drew first blood. Texas A&M (22-5, 4-4 SEC) scored in the first inning for the 16th time on the year. J.B. Moss led the game off by hitting a ball deep to leftfield. He was originally awarded a double, but an official video replay by the umpires overturned the call and awarded Moss his fifth home run of the season. With one out, Boomer White reached on an infield single and scooted to second on a throwing error by the third baseman. Hunter Melton singled up the middle to put runners on the corners and a wild pitch scored White for the 2-0 lead.
Florida (26-3, 6-2 SEC) offered up an immediate response in the home half of the first. Dalton Guthrie led off the inning with a single to leftfield, moved to second on a groundout by Buddy Reed and advanced to third on a flyout to deep center by J.J. Schwarz. Peter Alonso threaded a single through the left side of the infield to plate Guthrie. Deacon Liput drew a walk to put two runners on. With the count full and the runners in motion, Mike Rivera hit a gapper to left-center for a single. Alonso scored easily and Liput rounded third and headed home, sliding into catcher Michael Barash’s tag at the plate, but he was granted the go-ahead run to stake the Florida to a 3-2 lead.
The Gators added to the lead in the second. With one out, Guthrie was hit by a pitch and he moved to third on a throwing error on a two-out walk. Alonso followed with a single to leftfield to plate Guthrie for the 4-2 advantage.
Florida inflated the cushion to 6-2 in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Alonso hit a first-pitch offering over the fence in left-center for a solo home run. With two outs, Mike Rivera drew a walk, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a double by Vasquez.
The Gators tacked on another run in the sixth. Alonso hit a leadoff single through the left side of the infield. With two outs, Alonso appeared to be caught stealing when reliever Andrew Vinson stepped off the mound with the junior halfway to first, but pitcher’s throw sailed into the outfield. Vasquez made the Aggies pay with an RBI single to the gap in right-center for the 7-2 lead.
Kyle Simonds (5-1) was saddled with the loss for the Aggies. He labored through 2.0 innings, allowing four runs on four hits and three walks while striking out two in 2.0 innings. Aggie pitchers chased the elusive strike zone much of the day, issuing a season-high seven walks.
It took Florida starter Alex Faedo 40 pitches to get through the first inning, but he persevered to improve his record to 6-0. He allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits and two walks while striking out seven in 6.0 innings.
Boomer White went 3-for-3 with a walk for the Aggies who were unable to supply ample support.
Alonso paced Florida at the plate, going 4-for-5 with one home run, three runs and three RBI. Guthrie, Rivera and Vasquez added two hits apiece.
The Aggies and Gators wrap up the series Sunday with a 1:02 pm Central game at McKethan Stadium.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head coach Rob Childress
On how he with the two-run lead after the top of the first…
“We certainly had all of the momentum for all of five minutes. Then the bottom of the first came around and Florida took it right back. We take 40 pitches from their starter and they take 45 from ours and we weren’t able to answer them back.”
On any adjustments Alex Faedo might have made…
“I felt like he just settled in. He’s extremely competitive. I thought he just competed really hard tonight and found a way to get them through six. I think the sixth inning says a lot about how competitive he is.”