HOOVER, Ala. — Top-seeded Florida held off No. 8 seed LSU 4-3 in the second round of the SEC baseball tournament.
The Tigers struck first with a two-run homer from Jake Slaughter in the second inning. LSU added another run in the next frame when Antoine Duplantis raced across the plate on an RBI single by Daniel Cabrera.
The Gators responded in the bottom of the third, plating three runs to knot the score. Deacon Liput hit an RBI double to put Florida on the board. Nelson Maldonado followed with an RBI groundout and SEC Player of the Year Jonathan India tied the game by singling through the left side to bring Liput home.
Florida’s go-ahead run came in the bottom of the fifth when Austin Langworthy delivered a two-out RBI single.
The Tigers were looking for a comeback in the eighth, with runners on second and third. Slaughter came to the plate with two outs, but India made a diving grab and throw from third to save the runs and end the inning.
Florida moves to 36-1 this season when leading after six innings, the best record in the SEC. This was the first meeting of Florida and LSU since the 2017 College World Series Finals.
"Another Florida-LSU game, they’re always competitive and seem to be entertaining," said Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan. "It wasn’t the cleanest of games, but it was one that we needed. I’m really excited about these guys getting back on the winning track."
Gators freshman Tommy Mace (4-0) tossed a career-high seven innings and threw four strikeouts while allowing just three hits and one earned run. Michael Byrne earned his 13th save of the season, striking out two in 1.2 scoreless innings.
UP NEXT: Florida advanced to the winners bracket and will face the winner of the South Carolina-Arkansas contest. LSU plays in an elimination game against either the Gamecocks or Razorbacks. Both games air Thursday on SEC Network.