Super Regional Final: Florida 11, MSU 1

GAINESVILLE | A recap of Florida’s win over MSU today at McKethan Stadium. UF leads the best-of-3 super regional series 1-0.

The buzz: The Gators (49-16) jumped all over State (37-24) with four runs in the first, and they led 10-0 after five innings. Florida starter Hudson Randall was strong, avenging his terrible outing in Starkville a couple of months ago. MSU starter Evan Mitchell just couldn’t find the strike zone early, and the Gators made him pay.

Big inning: In the first, Mitchell walked leadoff man Nolan Fontana, then gave up a single, another walk, and a bases-loaded two-run single to Mike Zunino. Two batters later, Tyler Thompson delivered a two-run double for a 4-0 lead.

Key stats: The 4-5-6 hitters in MSU’s lineup were 1 of 12. … MSU made two errors, Florida made none. … Florida has out-scored State 44-14 in the teams’ five meetings.

MSU at the plate: The Bulldogs had seven hits, with Jarrod Parks going 2 of 4. He was in a 7-of-42 slump coming in. MSU’s lone run came in the sixth on Jaron Shepherd‘s RBI groundout.

Florida at the plate: UF collected 11 hits, three of them by center fielder Bryson Smith. Fontana had a two-run homer, while Zunino hit a solo shot, his 17th of the year. Eight of the nine Gator starters reached base at least once.

MSU on the mound: Mitchell (6-2) lasted two-plus innings, getting pulled after allowing Zunino’s leadoff homer in the third. Mitchell allowed seven runs (all earned) on five hits, walked three and struck out two. He threw 43 pitches, only 25 of them for strikes. Devin Jones, Kendall Graveman and Chris Stratton all got relief work.

Florida on the mound: Randall (10-3), who got lit up in Starkville on April 8 to the tune of six runs on nine hits in 2 1/3 innings, was super sharp today. In eight innings, he allowed one run on six hits, fanned a season-high eight and walked two. Of his 115 pitches, 81 were for strikes. Keenan Rish worked a perfect ninth to close it out.

Bottom line: State has dealt with blowout losses before and has often bounced back nicely. After UF beat MSU 18-0 on April 9, the Bulldogs kept it close the next day before falling 3-1. Now, though, just one win won’t do. One more loss here will end MSU’s season.

Quotable: “You’ve just got to forget them as soon as you leave the park.” – Parks, on bouncing back from a blowout loss

Up next: Game 2 is Saturday at 11 a.m. CST and can be watched on both ESPN and Junior left-hander Nick Routt (3-3, 3.78) will start on the mound for MSU, while UF will counter with freshman righty Karsten Whitson (8-0, 2.42).

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