Tide falls to Florida at SEC Tournament

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Hudson Randall allowed four hits in eight innings to lead the No. 3 ranked Florida Gators to a 6-0 win over Alabama on Thursday in the second round of the 2011 Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament from Regions Park. With the loss the Crimson Tide falls to 33-25, Florida improved to 43-15 overall.

Alabama was held to five singles in the game, as center fielder Taylor Dugas and designated hitter Brett Whitaker had two hits each. Josh Sanders was 1-for-3. After a leadoff walk to Dugas to start the game, Randall allowed one hit over his first five innings en route to the victory and improved to 9-3 on the season.

Alabama's starting pitcher Adam Morgan (5-6) took the loss, lasting 3.1 innings for his shortest outing of the season. Morgan allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits with a strikeout before giving way to Taylor Wolfe. Wolfe finished the game, throwing 5.2 innings allowing just one earned run on four hits with three strikeouts.

The Gators jumped out to 2-0 lead after scoring a pair of runs off Morgan in the first inning. Bryson Smith smacked the first pitch of the game to right center for a double and later scored on a ground out. Nolan Fontana scored on a sac fly by Josh Adams for the second run. The lead doubled to 4-0 in the second inning as Florida got runs on a RBI single by Smith and a sacrifice fly by Fontana.

"That's a tremendous offense Florida has, one through nine they are very difficult to get out," UA head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "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 added to its lead in the fourth inning with a RBI single by Smith that scored Daniel Pigott, making the score 5-0. The Smith single ended the day for Morgan, who had pitched six-plus innings in his last 11 starts, dating back to March 4.

Randall allowed one hit in the first five innings, and retired 12 straight hitters before the Tide got back-to-back singles by Sanders and Dugas to open the sixth inning. Alabama's best opportunity to get to Randall came to an end when Jared Reaves grounded into an inning ending double play with runners on the corners. That was the only time Alabama got a runner to third base in the game.

The final Gators' run came across in the ninth inning. Pigott tripled to lead off the inning before Smith recorded his fourth hit of the day with a double to the right field corner. Smith was 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and three RBI and Pigott was 4-for-4 with three runs scored, and was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle.

Alabama will continue play in the SEC Tournament on Friday against the No. 18 ranked Arkansas Razorbacks. First pitch for the elimination game is scheduled for 3 p.m. from Regions Park. Alabama will start senior left-hander Jonathan Smart on Friday, while Arkansas will threw freshman right-hander Ryne Stenek.