So much for the momentum of winning the suspended opener in dramatic fashion. Second ranked Vanderbilt (42-7, 20-6 SEC) cranked out 14 runs on 18 hits to hammer number five Florida (38-13, 19-7 SEC), 14-1. Vandy southpaw Grayson Garvin threw seven strong innings, allowing one run on six hits and six strikeouts. Garvin improved to 11-1 on the season and stayed perfect (9-0) in league play. The win assured the Commodores they would end the weekend with at least a share of the SEC lead with three league games remaining.
To the highlights (or lowlights as it may be)...The Gators put the first run on the board thanks to Bryson Smith's second homerun of the season to give UF a 1-0 lead in the top of the third. But that would be all the offense Florida could muster. It was all Vandy from there.
The bottom of the fifth is where things really began to unravel for Florida, where Vandy scored six runs. VU's Aaron Westlake belted a grand slam to put the Commodores up 6-1. The four bagger was Westlake's team leading 11th of the season. It also chased Florida starter Brian Johnson from the game. Johnson's stat line is not pretty: 4.1 IP, 9 H, 8 R, 3 K, 1 BB. Conrad Gregor welcomed the new Gator pitcher Matt Campbell with a two out, two run double to push the lead to 8-1.
Vanderbilt tacked on two more runs on three hits in the home half of the sixth to push the lead to 10-1. Jason Esposito had an RBI double and Mike Yastrzemski (yes, he is the grandson of Red Sox Hall of Famer, Carl Yastrzemski) added an RBI single for Vandy.
The seventh wasn't all that much better for the Gators as the Commodores added four runs on four hits to extend their lead to the final score of 14-1. Riley Reynolds, Tony Kemp, and Westlake all had RBI singles in the inning, and Gomez scored on a Keenan Kish wild pitch to summarize the scoring for Vandy.
In Sunday's crucial rubber match, freshman righty Karsten Whitson (6-0, 2.26 ERA) will take the mound for Florida against Vanderbilt's senior righthander Taylor Hill (4-0, 3.17 ERA). The game starts at 2 p.m. If Florida wins Sunday's game, the Gators will be assured of at least a share of the SEC lead heading into the final weekend of the season.