Florida outlasts Missouri, wins 4–3 in extras

Tigers unable to finish comeback against Gators.

Opening day of Southeastern Conference baseball ended in heartbreak for the Missouri men’s baseball team.

The Tigers traveled to Gainesville on Friday to take on No. 1 Florida in what turned out to be a heated contest until the end. Unfortunately for Missouri, it was the Gators who would come out on top with a 4–3 victory in extra innings.

Senior Reggie McClain got off to a rare rocky start on the mound, surrendering three runs to the Gators in the first inning. With a Florida pitching staff that is one of the nation’s finest, it was going to be a tough matchup for the Tiger hitters from the start. From there on out, Missouri faced a steep uphill battle.

It was a battle the Tigers were willing to take on. Inning by inning, Missouri clawed its way back to within striking distance.

In the fifth inning, sophomore third baseman Shane Benes smacked a seeing-eye single between Florida’s third baseman and shortstop. Senior first baseman Zach Lavy, who tripled to center field in the previous at bat, scored easily to bring the score to 3–1.

Then, in the sixth inning, Lavy stayed hot and singled into right field, driving in sophomore left fielder Trey Harris.

McClain kept Missouri close, not allowing any runs for the rest of his time on the mound. The Tigers’ starter pitched nine innings, striking out eight while only allowing three runs.

Then, in the ninth inning, Missouri finished its comeback. With two men on base and two outs, junior center fielder Jake Ring lined a single into left field. Junior Kirby McGuire, who had come in to pinch run earlier in the inning, sprinted home from second base to tie the game at 3–3.

Unfortunately, that would be all the offense Missouri mustered on Friday night.

In the tenth inning, Florida loaded the bases on freshman pitcher Brian Sharp. Then, Florida first baseman Peter Alonso roped a 3-2 pitch into left field, winning the game 4–3 via walkoff.

Missouri will take on Florida again at 6 p.m. tomorrow. The game can be viewed on SEC Network +.

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