In their final home series of the year, the Tigers were looking to make up some ground and earn their way to an SEC tournament berth. After splitting the first two games, it all came down to the Sunday finale, but the Gators just barely edged the Tigers, and Missouri will now need a prayer in the final series of their SEC slate next weekend.
While games two and three may have been close contests, the Friday night opener in this series certainly was not.
The Tigers got on the board first by way of a Trevor Austin solo-HR in the 1st inning, but that was all the offense they’d muster. Unlike the Tigers, the Gator bats did not go dormant, in fact, they erupted. They scored 13 runs and hit 4 homeruns on their way. The Tigers didn’t help themselves either, committing two errors that led to 3 runs.
BT Riopelle and Wyatt Langford each had multi-hit games, and Langford went yard to lead the Gator offense in their beatdown of the Tigers. Missouri starter Tony Neubeck only last 2 innings surrendering 4 ER, and his relievers didn’t fare much better.
Down a game already, the Tigers were in an even more must-win situation than they were on Friday, and this time, they delivered.
Early in this one, it seemed like the Gators might pick up where they left off when BT Riopelle drove in a run in each of his first three at-bats, but the Tigers were lurking. Down 3-1 going into the bottom half of the 5th, the Tigers knew they were still within in striking distance and strike they did.
In the bottom of the 5th, Torin Montgomery took Florida starter Brandon Neely for a ride out to left center, and the Tigers were back on top 4-3. In the 8th, Josh Day added an insurance run, and Ian Lohse shut the door after 6 strong innings from Spencer Miles and a quality start.
While each of the first two games got going early, it was a quiet start for both teams in game 3. Three scoreless innings started the game, but in the fourth, the Tigers got rolling. Luke Mann and Trevor Austin hit back-to-back solo-HR to put Missouri up 2-0, and with the way Carter Rustad was pitching, things looked good for the Tigers.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, that 2-run lead was short-lived as Josh Rivera hit a 2-run HR in the top of the 5th. In the 6th, the Gators added two more, and now the Tigers needed a comeback.
In the 7th, they got one back thanks to a Ross Lovich RBI-single, but they stranded Mike Coletta at 3rd and in the 8th, they left another runner in scoring position. With only three outs left the Tigers were unable to finish the comeback in the 9th, and they fell on Senior Night to drop the Series to the Gators.
Standout Performer of the Weekend
Ian Lohse has had quite the journey back after TJ last year, and he sealed the only Tiger victory in this series. He’s had good relief outings this year where he has closed it out for the Tigers, and this series was no different. When the Tigers needed him most, he delivered 3 shutout innings and allowed just 3 base runners.