Tennessee and Florida split the first two games of the series making Sunday close to a must-win game for both teams NCAA Tournament chances.
Tennessee struck first in the second inning when Evan Russell took Nick Pogue deep for a solo run home.
Florida responded in the third inning after Linginfelter hit Jud Fabian. Fabian reached third after a stolen base and passed ball. Brady McConnell’s one-out groundout scored Fabian as the Gators evened the score without a hit.
Linginfelter hung strong until the sixth as the Gators’ lineup started giving the junior problems.
Fabian’s one-out single scored a runner and gave Florida a one-run lead. After Connor Pavolony caught Fabian stealing Florida put together back-to-back long balls from McConnell and Austin Langworthy.
Florida’s three runs in the fifth ran Linginfelter out of the game and gave the Gators a 4-1 lead.
Tennessee threatened in the sixth, but couldn’t get a run in after Lipcius and Soularie were retired to end the threat.
Tennessee came back again in the seventh after a Jake Rucker double and Pete Derkay walk gave the Vols a pair of base runners with one out. Ricky Martinez then made the biggest play of his Tennessee career as the junior college transfer hit his first Tennessee homer clearing the bases and evening the game four.
After Pavolony singled to left field Florida made a pitching change bringing in Christian Scott. Justin Ammons doubled off of him giving the Vols runners on second and third. Jay Charleston chopped one that hit Scott’s glove, but the freshman couldn’t handle it allowing Pavolony to score the go-ahead run.
Tennessee threatened again in the eighth with runners on second and third with one-out, but a light chopper and a flyout ended the threat and kept Tennessee’s lead to one.
The ninth inning saw another threat from Tennessee after Pavolony singled and reached second on a wild pitch, reaching third on a Charleston groundout. After Andre Lipcius walked, the Vols had runners on the corners with two-outs.
Sophomore Sean Hunley pitched a solid three innings for the Vols, closing the game and allowing only one Gator base runner as he secured the series win.
The win is a big one for the Vols as it will keep Tennessee on the right side of the bubble with only one SEC series left.
Tennessee will return to action Tuesday night for the final midweek game of the year against Tennessee Tech. First pitch from Lindsey Nelson Stadium is set for 6 p.m.