By Miss. State Athletics
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A three-run home run by Florida’s Austin Maddox lifted the sixth-ranked Gators past Mississippi State 4-1 in a Southeastern Conference baseball game played Sunday afternoon at UF’s McKethan Stadium.
Florida won all three games of the weekend for its first series sweep from the Bulldogs since the Gators enjoyed back-to-back sweeps in the 2001 and 2002 seasons. Florida improved to 16-3 overall and 3-0 in league play with its fifth straight win. MSU fell to 11-9 and 0-3.
The Bulldogs failed to get the key hit Sunday afternoon. M-State stranded 13 total base runners in the game, including 10 over their final four at-bats. MSU left the bases loaded in the sixth and seventh innings. The Bulldogs stranded a pair in both the eighth and ninth innings.
Inability to score runs again meant another solid Bulldog pitching performance went for naught. Nick Routt threw the first two innings before being lifted for precautionary reasons. Caleb Reed (0-2) threw a career-best 5.1 innings, allowing three hits and one run (earned), with three walks and two strikeouts.
Reed was lifted after a one-out walk to Kamm Washington on a 3-2 pitch in the eighth inning. Ben Bracewell followed in relief and was touched for a single by a Preston Tucker and Maddox’s sixth home run of the year.
For the weekend, Bulldog pitching allowed 16 runs and 22 hits to one of the conference’s best offensive ball clubs.
MSU grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Wes Thigpen’s second home run of the year. The Bulldogs finished with seven total runs in the series – three of those coming on the long ball.
The Gators tied the game when an error opened the door in the home half of the second inning.
The Bulldogs then had a chance to grab the lead but squandered golden opportunities in both the sixth and seventh innings.
Winning pitcher Kevin Chapman (1-0) was the final of five Gator pitchers used on the afternoon. Chapman threw 2.1 innings of shutout relief, allowing two hits with four strikeouts and a walk.
MSU out-hit Florida, 8-6. For the Bulldogs, Powers had three hits, while Thigpen also had multiple hits.
The Bulldogs host Memphis at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Dudy Noble Field. Conference play resumes next weekend when Georgia comes to town. Game times are 6:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.