While you were most likely watching one of the craziest days in NCAA Tournament history, the unanimous No. 1 Florida Gators (17-1) took the first game of SEC schedule from the Vanderbilt Commodores (6-11), 10-2. The win set the mark for consecutive wins for Florida at 15 and counting. Hudson Randall (3-0) picked up the win for the Gators, throwing 6 2/3 innings giving up two runs on six hits while tying a season high for strikeouts with six. The Commodores' Kevin Ziomek (2-2) five runs on six hits, walking two over 4 1/3 innings pitched to take the loss. Florida's bullpen held Vandy scoreless in 2 1/3 innings, extending their scoreless streak to 30 innings.
The 'Dores drew first blood when they took a 1-0 lead in the first on a two-out triple by Connor Gregor, which scored Mike Yastrzemski. Vandy scored again in the fifth on a Anthony Gomez RBI single that gave VU a 2-0 lead.
But then Florida came storming back with five runs on five hits in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead. Tyler Thompson started the scoring with a bloop single to left, scoring Austin Maddox. Nolan Fontana knotted the score at two when he hit a fielder's choice to score Casey Turgeon. The Gators took the lead when Ziomek was charged with a balk, which scored Josh Tobias. Preston Tucker delivered an RBI single to right and Mike Zunino contributed with a sac fly to finish the scoring in the fifth and put UF up 5-2.
The Gators scored four more runs in the seventh to put the game out of reach. Tucker smashed a bases clearing triple, scoring Fontana and Daniel Pigott to put the Gators up by five. Taylor Gushue rounded out the scoring with a two-RBI double to put the Gators at a 9-2 advantage. Florida finished their scoring in the eighth when Pigott drove home pinch-runner Connor Mitchell to plate one more run to bring the score to the final, 10-2.
UF won their SEC opener for the fourth time in head coach Kevin O'Sullivan's five years. Meanwhile, out of Florida's 17 wins on the season, 11 have been come-from-behind victories. In league news, SEC rival and second-ranked South Carolina fell to No. 16 Kentucky Friday, proving they are beatable and setting up an intriguing matchup next week when the Gators travel to Columbia to take on the Gamecocks.
Back to the present, however, as the Gators continue their series with the Commodores today in a matinee game. Brian Johnson (2-0, 4.12 ERA) goes to the mound for UF against VU's Drew VerHagen (2-1, 3.93 ERA). Game two of the series starts at 1 p.m. and can be seen on CSS (Cox Channel 259 in Gainesville).