Vols Drop Finale, Win Series at #7 Florida

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Battling to overcome an early five-run deficit against No.7-ranked Florida on Sunday, Tennessee came up short in a 5-4 series finale at McKethan Stadium.

With the loss, Tennessee moves to 17-12 overall and 3-9 in SEC play, while the Florida Gators now stand at 21-11 (6-6 SEC) on the season.

This weekend, the Vols took their first series victory (2-1) over the Gators since April 2008, as well as their first series win in Gainesville since the 2007 season.

Each of Tennessee’s three games against the Gators this weekend were decided by one run.

For the second straight game, catcher Benito Santiago led the Volunteers at the plate with a 2-for-5 effort, while designated hitter Pete Derkay (2-for-3, RBI) also had multiple hits on the day.

A bases-loaded, RBI grounder to third by Gators leadoff man Deacon Liput gave UF a 1-0 lead in the second inning.

With runners on the corners in the next frame, a wild pitch from starter Zach Linginfelter brought another run home for UF, making it a 2-0 ballgame.

Florida cushioned its lead to 5-0 in the fourth, bringing three runs across on a bases-loaded walk, sac fly and RBI grounder through the right side.

Tennessee staged a rally in the sixth, as Jordan Rodgers, Santiago and Andre Lipcius reached on three consecutive base hits to begin the inning. With bases loaded, Derkay was hit by a pitch to score Rodgers before pinch hitters Will Heflin and Luc Lipcius each recorded RBIs to trim Florida’s lead to 5-3.

In the eighth, Tennessee would add a run to its total and make it a one-run game at 5-4. With runners on the corners and no outs, Dom Thornton punched an RBI single through the right side.

UT’s rally came up short in the ninth as Florida tracked down three, deep fly balls to the outfield to end the game.

On the mound for UT, Linginfelter went 2.1 innings with the Sunday start and allowed two runs on four hits in the loss.

Will Neely (0.2), Eric Freeman (2.1) and Zach Warren (2.2) went on to make relief appearances in relief for the Volunteers.

TENNESSEE QUICK HITS

  • With the loss, Tennessee moves to 86-150 all-time vs. Florida, including a 39-82 mark in games played in Gainesville, Fla.
  • Tennessee’s Friday and Saturday wins gave the Vols their first series win over Florida since 2008, as well as the program’s first series win in Gainesville since the 2007 season.
  • RODGER(S) THAT: With his two-out walk in the first inning vs. Florida, Jordan Rodgershas now reached base safely in each of his 28 games started this season.
  • On Deck for the Vols: Tennessee travels to Johnson City, Tenn., on Tuesday, April 11 to take on ETSU at 6:30 p.m. ET. The Vols then play host to the SEC’s Auburn Tigers for three games in Knoxville (Thursday, April 13 – Saturday, April 15).

Sunday’s attendance at McKethan Stadium: 3,894

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