KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – No. 8/11 Tennessee struggled to contain No. 2/3 Florida’s high-powered lineup in a 9-3 loss on a dreary Friday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
The Gators jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead after scoring three runs in the top of the first and two more in the second. They added two more runs apiece in the fourth and fifth innings to take a comfortable 9-2 advantage after UT had cut the lead to three.
Six of the Gators’ nine runs came off of home runs, as they finished with four for the night, including back-to-back homers from Wyatt Langford and Jac Caglianone in the fourth inning.
Six different Vols finished with a hit, but UT didn’t have a single player with multiple hits on the night. Zane Denton drove in two of the team’s three runs with his eighth homer of the year, a shot into Tennessee’s bullpen in the second inning that made it a 5-2 game.
That was all the offense the Big Orange were able to generate until a Griffin Merritt pinch-hit RBI single in the bottom of the seventh.
Florida starter Hurston Waldrep got the win and improved to 6-1 on the year after recording nine strikeouts over seven innings of work, allowing three runs on five hits and a pair of walks.
Tennessee’s Chase Burns struggled for the second straight week, giving up seven runs on six hits and four walks in just 3.1 innings pitched to fall to 2-3 on the year.
Designated hitter Matt Prevesk led the Gators offensively with a two-run double and a two-run homer to finish with four RBIs. Langford and Caglianone also finished with two hits each and combined to score five runs.
The trio of Andrew Lindsey, Bryce Jenkins and Jake Fitzgibbons were impressive in relief efforts, holding Florida hitless over the final 4.2 innings while combining for 10 strikeouts. Jenkins had his best outing as a Vol, striking out five of the six batters he faced in two flawless innings of work while Fitzgibbons struck out the side in the top of the ninth inning.
UP NEXT: The Vols (21-10, 4-7 SEC) will look to get back in the win column in Saturday’s series finale, which is slated to begin at 2 p.m. ET and air live on ESPN2.