WHAT HAPPENED: The Gators rallied Wednesday night to score 20 runs and 17 hits over their last four at bats to defeat rival Florida State 20-7 in game one of this year's Fresh from Florida Sunshine Showdown at McKethan Stadium.
The Seminoles built a 6-0 lead over Florida that lasted four and a half innings until the Gators stormed back with a five-run fifth inning and an eight-run sixth inning.
An RBI by Kendrick Calilao and an unearned run by Jacob Young —after a ball from the outfield to third got away—sparked things up for the Gators in the fifth. Back-to-back unearned runs by Nelson Maldonado and Calilao, and a RBI single by Kirby McMullen cut the deficit to one.
Florida State responded in the sixth with a one-run single by Mike Salvatore that brought in Matheu Nelson to make things 7-5. FSU looked to expand their lead after loading the bases, but Florida reliever Justin Alintoff escaped the jam.
Florida continued to amass runs through the sixth. Unearned runs by Dalton, Calilao and Austin Langworthy put the Gators on top with a 10-7 lead—their first of the evening. RBIs by Brady Smith , Jacob Young and McConnell expanded Florida's lead 13-7.
As Florida closed out the evening, Calilao connected on a grand slam, his second of the season. A two-run homer by Blake Reese capped off the victory for the Gators.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Kendrick Calilao – The freshman went 4-6 with six RBI on the night, including a grand slam in the eighth inning. It was his second grand slam of the season (the Gators' fifth grand slam overall) and second time amassing six RBI in a game.
FROM THE COACH: Head Coach Kevin O'Sullivan – On the outcome of the game "I'm not quite sure we've been involved with a game that went one way for the first four and a half innings, and all of the sudden it just flips. The bottom line is both teams probably walked too many guys, and a lot of it has to do with youth, and it was their first road game, it was Conor Grady's first start. You know, we are running out some freshmen, they are running out some young arms—both teams have to learn how to play in an environment like this."
STANDOUT STAT: 20 – Florida used three big innings to rack up 20 runs on the night, the second-most runs scored by the Gators in the UF-FSU rivalry behind a 21-6 win in 1980.
UP NEXT: This weekend, the Gators will open Southeastern Conference play as they host No. 5 Mississippi State in a three-game series at McKethan Stadium. First pitch is at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The series will broadcast live on SEC Network+ (Friday), SEC Network (Saturday/Sunday) and the Gator Sports Network.