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|Florida rallies by LSU, 8-5|
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- No. 18 Florida erupted for six runs in the seventh inning Friday night to erase a 4-2 deficit as the Gators defeated LSU, 8-5, in McKethan Stadium.
Florida improved to 19-5 overall, 6-1 in the SEC. LSU dropped to 15-9 overall and 2-5 in conference play. The teams meet in Game 2 of the series at 4 p.m. ET Saturday.
The Gators struck for five runs on five consecutive hits against LSU reliever Jared Bradford to begin the seventh inning. Designated hitter Dustin Bamberg led off with a double, moved to third on third baseman Jon Townsend's single and scored on first baseman Brandon McArthur's single to shrink LSU's lead to 4-3.
Centerfielder Matt den Dekker provided an RBI single to tie the game at 4-4 before catcher Buddy Munroe launched a three-run blast to left field to give the Gators a 7-4 lead. Florida later added its sixth run of the inning on catcher Sean Ochinko's throwing error.
LSU rallied in the ninth, pushing across a run on Ochinko's fielder's choice grounder; however, Florida reliever Josh Edmondson fanned Leon Landry with two runners on to end the game.
Florida starter Billy Bullock (3-2) earned the win, as he allowed four runs – two earned – on 10 hits in seven innings with two walks and three strikeouts. Bradford was charged with the loss as he surrendered five runs on five hits without retiring a batter.
Edmondson picked up his first save of the season by recording the final two outs in the LSU ninth.
Starting pitcher Blake Martin turned in a solid outing for LSU, limiting the Gators to two runs on four hits in six innings with no walks and five strikeouts.
"I thought Blake Martin was really outstanding tonight," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "He competed very well and continues to get better with each outing. It's unfortunate that we couldn't hold the lead for him. We have to put this game behind us and concentrate on the next two days."
The Gators took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when shortstop Cole Figueroa unloaded a solo homer off of Martin. The Tigers tied the game I n the third on designated hitter Matt Gaudet's RBI single.
Third baseman Derek Helenihi gave the Tigers a 3-1 lead in the fourth with a two-out, two-RBI double. Florida's den Dekker unloaded a solo blast in the fifth to narrow the gap to 3-2.
LSU first baseman Matt Clark's belted his 11th homer of the season, a solo shot in the top of the seventh to give the Tigers a 4-2 lead. However, the Gators struck for six runs in the bottom of the inning to secure the victory.
(Report courtesy of lsusports.net.)