This weekend the Gators swept LSU, moving to one game back of South Carolina for first place overall in the SEC. UF (31-11, 15-6, No. 6) has won six of seven SEC series and have gone 13-5 since the start of April.
In their last two weekends, home series with Arkansas and LSU, the Gators took five of six games from the No. 1 and No. 3 offenses in the SEC. You could say it is a little home cooking, as Florida won road series against below .500 Kentucky and Tennessee, with the one SEC series loss coming at Ole Miss. Getting the tough teams at home will change in May, as Florida has to go to Alabama (who is 7-2 in SEC home games) and finishes the season at South Carolina. Even if Florida was to finish those series 1-2 in each, it would not be a reason to panic, as long as they keep playing as well as they have lately.
This was a strange weekend in the sense that the usual routine was thrown off by schedule changes. Friday night's game began at 8pm, an hour and a half later than normal. Then, in the bottom of the fifth with UF leading, the game was suspended due to rain. Had UF ended the inning, leading the Tigers 7-0, the game would have been called. Instead, they had to finish the game Saturday. That game started on schedule and featured Hudson Randall (5-3, 3.30) allowing one run on seven hits in eight innings. UF won 7-3, but allowed two runs in the top of the ninth. Why was that significant? Because when the Friday night game restarted about 30 minutes later, LSU (32-13, 11-10, No. 9) scored four runs in the next inning. LSU was on a roll, bouncing Greg Larson before he could get an out. Nick Maronde and Kevin Chapman shut the door for an 8-5 win, with Chapman getting an eight out save, his eighth of the season.
Sunday, The Gators blew the doors off LSU, winning 13-6. Brian Johnson (4-2, 2.90) was a man amongst boys, allowing three runs in 6.1 innings, and going 2-4 at the plate including a grand slam (2 HR). Having Johnson being able to pitch and hit (.387 average) is a tremendous advantage going forward. If it wasn't for Johnson, Austin Maddox might have been the most impressive freshman, hitting 1-3 with a three-run homer, his team leading 13th of the season. He also leads the team with 50 RBI.
The Gators faces Bethune-Cookman (29-18, 15-0 MEAC) Tuesday and goes to Alabama (28-16, 9-11) starting on Friday.