Florida jumped out to a big early lead for the second night in a row as they cruised past Auburn 10-1 Friday night. Auburn starting pitcher Daniel Koger lasted just two innings allowing six earned runs on five Gator hits.
The Tigers' starters have only lasted a combined 2 2/3 innings in the first two games of the series against Florida. The Gators however, have had outstanding outing from starts Hudson Randall, and Brian Johnson. Randall pitched a complete game shutout in Thursday night' matchup, while Johnson went seven innings of one run ball Friday night.
"We struggled early again, but still tried to battle back the entire game," said head coach Jon Pawlowski
Florida tacked on four runs in the first inning thanks to an opposite field home run from first baseman Vickash Ramjit. The Gators would then add three more in the third inning after a solo shot from catcher Mike Zunino, followed by a bases loaded infield single from Josh Tobias.
Auburn would notch their first run of the series in the third inning back-to-back walks to Zach Alvord, and Jay Gonzalez put a runner in scoring position. Tiger starting second baseman Creede Simpson hit a hard chopper to third that was mishandled by Tobias allowing Alvord to score.
"We had guys competing out there, and especially at the plate. As a team we talked about trying to steady the game, and we just didn't do that again tonight," Pawlowski said.
The Tigers have yet to name a starting pitcher for Saturday's series finale, but there are some options for Pawlowski's club.
"Derek Varnadore is an option for tomorrow, but we will go back tonight and make a decision," said Pawlowski.
Florida will send right-hander Karsten Whitson (3-0, 3.33 ERA) to the hill looking for the series sweep. Auburn is only hitting 5 for 59 (.084) against the Gator staff in the first two games of the series.
The loss drops Auburn's record to (29-26, 12-17 SEC), while the Gators improve to 40-15, 18-11 SEC). Saturday's game starts at 1pm at Plainsman Park.