Florida had no hits through five innings against Arkansas on Friday, and with Hudson Randall in unfamiliar dicey situations throughout his customary Friday start, it was looking bleak for the Gators. Then the sixth inning happened.
Randall got a double play to nullify a leadoff single in the sixth, and struck out the third batter of the inning for the third straight inning, and Florida got three runs in the sixth on Casey Turgeon's two-out, two-run double and an RBI single by Austin Maddox to take a 3-2 lead it would not relinquish on the way to a series-opening victory against the Razorbacks.
The Gators hadn't been able to touch Ryne Stanek until the sixth, despite three walks by the Arkansas starter and enough tumult on the basepaths to get two Gators to third in the first five innings. And they would only get one hit after it, on a Vickash Ramjit single.
But Preston Tucker found the hit column with a rap to center in the sixth, and that hit allowed Brian Johnson to reach on a fielder's choice. Daniel Pigott's single with two outs gave Turgeon men on first and third, and the freshman second baseman cranked a shot that hit the wall in deep center, scoring both runners. Maddox's single was a bit less dramatic, dropping just in front of Arkansas' left fielder to push Florida ahead.
Randall allowed two runs and scattered six hits in six innings, but appeared off his peak form throughout. He gave up a hit in each inning, allowed the leadoff man to reach base in his last four, and allowed Razorbacks catcher Jake Wise to score from second on a wild pitch in the fifth. But he also fanned three, and held on long enough to earn the decision and give Florida's three-headed bullpen of terror (friend of the blog @Tomas_Verde suggested "Cerberus" as the nickname for Greg Larson, Steven Rodriguez, and Maddox) a chance to seal the win.
That they did, with Larson and Rodriguez each allowing a hit and punching out two and Maddox working a perfect ninth inning for his 12th save on the year.
Florida will meet the Razorbacks again at 7 p.m. Saturday. The game will be available on GatorVision and the Gator Radio Network.