Hoover, AL – On Sunday night, the Gators (44-16) were able to bring home the programs 7th SEC Baseball Tournament Championship and the second title for Coach O’Sullivan in his 8 years at UF with a 7-3 win over Vanderbilt (42-19).
The feat at Hoover Met didn’t come easy for fourth-seeded Florida. On Wednesday night, the Gators began the 2015 SEC Baseball Tournament with a loss to fifth-seeded Arkansas (35-22) after a ninth inning homer put the Razorbacks ahead. The Gators rallied back in the tournament with a big win over top-ranked LSU (48-11) on Saturday. Then on Sunday, UF competed against the defending national champions and second-seeded Commodores and stayed hot even with two separate weather delays that altogether lasted 2 hours and 48 minutes.
Florida started off strong in the SEC Baseball Tournament title game. After Harrison Bader hit a bomb to left field that was called foul. In that same at bat, Bader redeemed himself and hit one fair to give the Gators the first lead of 1-0. Next at bat, Buddy Reed singled to left center. Peter Alonso with the 2-out RBI single would score in Reed and boost UF’s lead to 2-0.
Vanderbilt’s started the bottom first with two walks on Ro Coleman and Rhett Wiseman. After a sac-fly into right center by Dansby Swanson advanced runners to second and third, Eric Hanhold’s wild pitch scored in Coleman to cut Florida’s lead to 2-1.
The first of two rain delays, which lasted 34 minutes, did not slow down Florida’s momentum. To resume the second inning, Reed hit the RBI double to left center to knock in Bader pushing UF over the Commodores 3-1. A 2-out RBI single by Josh Tobias extended Florida’s lead to 4-1. Richie was thrown out to end the inning.
In the third, Florida’s lead went up a run with a 2-out RBI single by Jeremy Vasquez to make the score 5-1. Vanderbilt answered in the bottom half of the inning with Wiseman’s RBI single to centerfield to score in Karl Ellison.
Following a 2 hour, 14 minutes rain delay, Vanderbilt struck out and grounded out to end the third inning and left a runner stranded on third.
After a wild pitch by Aaron Rhodes brought home another Commodore, Danny Young was called to the mound for the pitching change. (Young would go on to retire the first 10 Vandy batters he faced.)
In the fifth, Florida tacked on a pair of insurance runs with an RBI single and wild pitch to push Gators ahead of Vanderbilt 7-3.
Kirby Snead struck out the first two hitters in the bottom ninth. After two singles allowed the Commodores to have a potential scoring threat, Snead secured the win with a ground out to first.
Florida was awarded on Monday the No. 4 national seed for the 2015 NCAA Baseball Tournament that begins on Friday at McKethan Stadium. The Gators will face fourth-seeded Florida A&M (23-23) at 7 p.m. Second-seeded Florida Atlantic (40-17) will meet third-seeded USF (33-24-1) earlier in the day at 1 p.m.
2015 SEC Baseball Tournament All-Tournament Team
Starting Pitcher: A.J. Puk, FLORIDA
Starting Pitcher: Matt Kent, Texas A&M
Relief Pitcher: Taylor Lewis, FLORIDA
Catcher/Designated Hitter: JJ Schwarz, FLORIDA
First Base: Peter Alonso, FLORIDA &Zander Wiel, Vanderbilt
Second Base: Jared Foster, LSU
Third Base: Will Toffey, Vanderbilt
Shortstop: Dansby Swanson, Vanderbilt
Outfield: Jeren Kendall, Vanderbilt
Outfield: Bryan Reynolds, Vanderbilt
Outfield: Trey Harris, Missouri
Outfield: Buddy Reed, FLORIDA
- The Gators have now claimed seven SEC Tournament titles: 1981, 1982, 1984, 1988, 1991, 2011 and 2015.
- Florida has taken three of the four meetings from Vanderbilt this year, including the last three.
- The Gators out-hit the Commodores, 14-7, with eight of their nine starters contributing hits.
- Florida’s bullpen gave up one run in 6.2 innings.