HOOVER, Ala. – Sophomore left-hander Scott Moss fired six shutout innings Saturday to lead top-ranked Florida to a 1-0 win over No. 7 LSU in the semifinal round of the SEC Tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
Moss (3-0) combined with three Florida relievers to defeat the Tigers and send the Gators (47-12) into Sunday’s 2 p.m. CT championship game against Texas A&M.
LSU (42-18) will return to action on Friday in the first round of an NCAA Regional. The 16 regional host sites will be announced by the NCAA on Sunday night, and LSU’s Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field is expected to be named one of the sites.
The entire 64-team NCAA Tournament field, including the eight National Seeds, will be announced on the NCAA Selection Show at 11 a.m. CT Monday on ESPNU.
LSU has won 14 of its last 16 games, including 12 of its past 14 games against SEC opponents. Within the past nine days, the Tigers posted four wins over teams that were ranked No. 1 in at least one poll – LSU defeated Florida three times and also recorded a victory over Mississippi State.
LSU freshman right-hander Caleb Gilbert (4-4) delivered an outstanding performance in just fourth career start, limiting Florida to one run on five hits in a career-long 5.2 innings with three walks and three strikeouts.
“It was a great ball game,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “After five games in the past week with these guys (Florida), I feel like (Muhammad) Ali and (Joe) Frazier going 15 rounds. We’ve had five great games with Florida. We were able to win three of them. Today, we just came up a little bit short. I thought it was a tremendous ball game. Caleb pitched his heart out, and so did their kid (Moss).”
Gilbert allowed the only run of the game in the sixth on third baseman Jonathan India’s two-out RBI double.
Moss limited LSU to no run on three hits in six innings with no walks and seven strikeouts. Relievers Dane Dunning and Kirby Snead held the Tigers scoreless in the seventh and eighth innings before giving way to closer Shaun Anderson in the ninth.
LSU shortstop Kramer Robertson led off the ninth with single, and he moved to second base on an Anderson wild pitch. Anderson, however, struck out DH Bryce Jordan, and he retired pinch hitter Brody Wofford on a grounder to first. Anderson, who earned his 12th save of the year, ended the game by forcing leftfielder Beau Jordan to fly out to right.
“I can’t emphasize enough how proud I am of our team,” Mainieri said. “We are disappointed, believe me. We came here to win a championship and came up a little bit short of that, but the first three games here were amazingly thrilling, and the last three weeks have been amazingly thrilling. I think our team is about as primed as we can possibly be to enter the NCAA Tournament.”