HOOVER, Ala. With two runs in each of the first two innings, the Florida Gators jumped out early and received all the offense they needed to beat the Alabama Crimson Tide, 6-0, Thursday at Regions Park in the 2011 Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament.
Leadoff hitter Bryson Smith went 4-for-5 and drove in three runs while left fielder Daniel Pigott was 4-for-4 and scored three times. It was the top and the bottom of the Florida lineup that provided the scoring output, instead of the usual middle of the lineup.
Thats a tremendous offense Florida has, one through nine they are very difficult to get out, said Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard. As you can see, they are one of the best teams in the country and they really had their way today. It was a very dominate performance, they executed everything they put on. They played really well.
Florida scored six runs on 11 hits, but Hudson Randall was the brightest star of the game, throwing eight shutout innings and giving up just four hits. He worked extremely quick and efficiently, facing just 27 batters and throwing 89 pitches.
Florida head coach Kevin OSullivan praised his sophomore pitcher for staying out of trouble on the mound Thursday, but also said it was a team effort as the Gators played through drizzling rain for most of the afternoon.
He (Randall) had some sink on the ball and he threw some changeups in there, said OSullivan. He got ahead in the count and we played really good defense behind him, too. He doesnt walk many, so its really hard to mount rallies against him.
Alabama will turn around and face Arkansas the two teams played Wednesday in the tournament opener Friday at 3 p.m. CT on CSS. The Crimson Tide won Wednesday after scoring five runs in the first inning, but Fridays game will be an elimination game. The loser will go home and the winner will play Florida on Saturday.
Florida has an ever-important day off Friday because of its win. The day of rest not only helps with nicks and bruise throughout the team, but can give a pitching staff much-needed time off. Because Randall worked eight innings Thursday, Floridas bullpen is in good shape.