Florida hit early and hit often against defending National Champion Vanderbilt, beating the Commodores 7-3 to take home the 2015 SEC Championship. The Gators took the lead in the second pitch of the first inning and never gave the lead away, out-hitting Vanderbilt 14-6. The Gators’ first batter, Harrison Bader, homered to left field on his second pitch. Four batters later, Buddy Reid scored on a Peter Alonso single to close out the opening inning.
Vanderbilt answered on a wild pitch by Eric Hanhold in the bottom of the first, but Florida increased the lead to two more in the top of the second inning. Runs came by Buddy Reid’s double to left field, which let Bader cross home and off a Josh Tobias infield single, which Reid scored on. The No. 4 Gators led the No. 1 Commodores 4-1 by the end of the second inning.
After a brief weather delay, Florida came out in the third with a single run by Jeremy Vasquez’s single to left field as JJ Schwarz got the run. Vanderbilt also scored a single run in the bottom of the third on a Rhett Wiseman single that allowed a run by Karl Ellison.
With the score at 5-2, inclement weather in the Hoover, Ala., area returned rapidly at the end of third inning. The game was delayed for two hours and 14 minutes before teams returned to the field.
In the first inning back, the Gators notched two more runs on a Vasquez infield single, scoring Alonso and another on the following pitch as Mike Rivera scored on a wild pitch by Ben Bowden.
Both teams were held scoreless after the fifth inning.
Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan attributed the Gators’ depth to their tournament success.
“I think we have some depth,” O’Sullivan said. “I was really please with how Danny through the ball. I think the 5th inning really may have been the turning point. I think he had to go through the 2-3-4 parts of the order and locate his fastball on both sides. It was just an outstanding effort by a lot of guys.”
The win is Florida’s seventh SEC Baseball Tournament championship and first since 2011.
Florida improves to 44-16 on the year going into the NCAA College Baseball Regionals. Gator pitcher Danny Young took the win, improving to 4-2 in 2015. The Commodores fall to 42-18 and Ryan Johnson took the loss, moving to 5-1 on the year.
2015 SEC Baseball All-Tournament Team
MVP – J.J. Schwarz, Florida
SP: A.J. Puk, Florida
SP: Matt Kent, Texas A&M
RP: Taylor Lewis, Florida
C/DH: J.J. Schwarz, Florida
1B: Zander Wiel, Vanderbilt / Peter Alonso, Florida
2B: Jared Foster, LSU
3B: Will Toffey, Vanderbilt
SS: Dansby Swanson, Vanderbilt
OF: Jeren Kendall, Vanderbilt
OF: Bryan Reynolds, Vanderbilt
OF: Trey Harris, Missouri
OF: Buddy Reed, Florida