Josh Smith had one of the two-run home runs in the eighth inning against Florida
Madeline VeZain

Baseball Uses Strong Eighth Inning to Defeat Florida

Bill Franques
Bill Franques
Communications Sr. Associate

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Fourth-ranked LSU exploded for six runs in the eighth inning Sunday with three two-run homers, as the Tigers posted a 10-6 win over 11th-ranked Florida at McKethan Stadium.

LSU improved to 18-7 overall and 4-2 in the SEC, while Florida dropped to 16-9 overall and 2-4 in league play.

LSU will play host to Tulane at 6:30 p.m. CT Tuesday in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field. The Tigers will wear “Throwback” uniforms in the contest, reminiscent of uniforms worn by LSU teams in the early 20th century.

The LSU-Tulane game may be viewed on SEC Network +, accessible at WatchESPN.com and the WatchESPN app. The game will be broadcast on affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network, and it may also be heard at www.LSUsports.net/live.

LSU, which trailed 5-0 after five innings, overcame its largest deficit to win a road game since defeating Florida, 8-7, on April 7, 2012, after trailing 7-2 in that contest. The Tigers collected 12 hits in Sunday’s contest, including five doubles and three home runs.

“I’m so proud of the way our team never stopped competing and came back to earn a very important victory,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We faced a lot of adversity in this series, but our kids never relented and we finally got the bats going. That eighth inning was remarkable with three homers after we had struggled most of the weekend with scoring opportunities against some outstanding pitching. It’s a great win for our team, and we’re pleased to end this series in such a positive way.”

LSU left-hander Nick Bush (1-0) earned his first career win after allowing one run in the seventh inning with no hits, two walks and one strikeout.

Florida left-hander Andrew Baker (1-2), the fourth of seven Gator pitchers, was charged with the loss as he was charged with the Tigers’ go-ahead run in the eighth inning.

LSU erupted for six runs in the eighth to erase a 6-2 deficit. Rightfielder Greg Deichmann singled, and after centerfielder Zach Watson flied out, third baseman Josh Smith unloaded his second homer of the year to reduce the Gators’ advantage to 6-4.

First baseman Jake Slaughter was hit by a pitch before Jordan smashed a two-run homer, his first of the season. After catcher Michael Papierski was hit by a pitch, second baseman Cole Freeman blasted a two-run shot to give the Tigers an 8-6 lead.

LSU added two runs in the ninth as Deichmann doubled and scored when Watson bunted and Florida pitcher Tyler Dyson committed a throwing error. Smith later lifted a sacrifice fly to give LSU a 10-6 lead.

LSU right-hander Caleb Gilbert pitched two perfect innings with one strikeout to preserve the victory and earn his third save of the season.

Jordan finished 2-for-4 on the day with four RBI and one run scored, while Smith was 2-for-3 with three RBI and two runs.

Florida opened the scoring in the bottom of the third when leftfielder Ryan Larson singled, moved to second on centerfielder Nick Horvath’s single, advanced to third on second baseman Deacon Liput’s flyout to right field, and scored when LSU catcher Michael Papierski’s throw sailed into center field on Horvath’s steal of second base.

The Gators extended the lead to 2-0 in the fourth when rightfielder Nelson Maldonado launched his first homer of the season.

Florida added three runs in the fifth as first baseman JJ Schwarz drew a bases-loaded walk from Walker, and third baseman Jonathan India delivered a bases-loaded, two-run single to give the Gators a 5-0 lead.

The Tigers narrowed the gap to 5-2 in the sixth when designated hitter Beau Jordan slapped a two-out, bases-loaded single into right field against Florida reliever Michael Byrne.

Florida answered with a run in the seventh on a Schwarz sacrifice fly against LSU reliever Nick Bush.

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