Da Boot Sports
LSU Sports Communications
By: William Franques
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida left-hander Hunter Barco limited LSU on Friday night to one hit in seven shutout innings, as the Gators posted a 7-2 win over the Tigers at Florida Ballpark, McKethan Field.
Florida, which hit three homers, improved to 17-5 overall and 3-1 in the SEC. LSU dropped to 15-7 overall and 1-3 in conference play.
The teams will meet in Game 2 of the series at 5:30 p.m. CT Saturday in a contest that will air on the LSU Sports Radio Network and may be viewed on SEC Network +.
Barco (5-1) fired seven scoreless innings, allowing just two hits with three walks and eight strikeouts. LSU starter Blake Money (2-1) was charged with the loss, as he surrendered six runs on seven hits in five innings with two walks and three strikeouts.
“Florida is a very good team, and Barco is a great pitcher, so there’s no margin for error when you play them,” said LSU coach Jay Johnson. “We had some opportunities with getting runners on base, but he’s good enough to make the pitches to work his way out of it. He didn’t give us a whole lot to hit, and that’s a credit to him.
“We have to focus on making our approaches at the plate stronger and making a commitment to our plan. We need to focus on getting better at baseball and finding that core group of guys that are committed to winning. It’s not easy, but we’ve got to get better on the mound, better on defense, have better at-bats and have a more competitive attitude.”
LSU limited the Gators to seven hits, but three were homers – solo shots by second baseman Colby Halter and catcher BT Riopelle, and a two-run dinger by leftfielder Wyatt Langford.
Halter led off the Florida first inning with his fifth homer of the year, and the Gators increased the lead to 2-0 in the fourth on Riopelle’s fifth dinger of the season.
The Gators erupted for four runs in the fifth against Money, as centerfielder Jud Fabian provided an RBI groundout, rightfielder Sterlin Thompson delivered a run-scoring single and Langford blasted a two-run homer, his ninth of the season.
Halter drove in another run in the sixth before LSU scored single runs in the eighth and ninth. Leftfielder Gavin Dugas provided an RBI with an eighth-inning groundout, and catcher Hayden Travinski hit his first homer of the season in the ninth.
LSU reliever Bryce Collins held Florida to one run over the final three innings, allowing no hits and recording three strikeouts.