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NASHVILLE, Tenn. --- Preston Tucker's two-out, two-run double in the seventh inning gave Florida a 5-4 lead and sparked the Gators to an 8-4 win over Vanderbilt Friday night at Hawkins Field.
The Gators won their seventh straight Southeastern Conference game to improve to 7-3 in league play and 19-9 overall, while VU dropped its fourth straight contest to fall to 17-12 and 3-7 in league action.
The Commodores trailed 3-1in the bottom of the sixth when Andrew Giobbi hit a three-run triple to put his team up 4-3.
Josh Adams and Avery Barnes had back-to-back one-out singles in the seventh and both men advanced on Buddy Monroe's grounder to third. Tucker was down 0-2 in the count to Mike Minor before belting a double to right-center to plate both runners to give the Gators a 5-4 lead.
Vanderbilt managed just five hits in the game with none coming in the final three innings of action.
"(Andrew) Giobbi got a big triple for us but after that we didn't scratch and hit," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "The late inning offense just wasn't there tonight."
Minor (2-3) took the loss scattering 12 hits, 10 singles and two doubles, over seven innings of work. He gave up five runs, four earned, with nine strikeouts and no walks.
The Gators added two more runs in the eighth on a RBI grounder by Riley Cooper and a RBI single by Adams. They closed out the scoring with Jerico Weitzel's RBI single in the ninth to make it 8-4.
Florida took a 1-0 lead in the third on a RBI single by Munroe in the first with runners on second and third. The Gators tried to score Adams from second but he was thrown out at the plate by right-fielder Steven Liddle.
Florida just came out and played the game better than we did tonight. We are going to try our best tomorrow to get things going.
Losing is always tough but we have some older guys on our team that need to pick up the younger guys to get everyone's confidence going.
Jason Esposito led off the bottom of the third with a solo homer to left, his third of the year, to tie the game at 1-1.
UF took the lead back in the fifth scoring two runs on a RBI groundout and an infield single by Tucker.
Tucker and Brandon McArthur both had three hits to lead the Gator offense. Tony Davis pitched 3.1 innings of hitless relief with four strikeouts and a walk to move to 3-0 on the year.
"Florida just came out and played the game better than we did tonight," said Steven Liddle. "We are going to try our best tomorrow to get things going. Losing is always tough but we have some older guys on our team that need to pick up the younger guys to get everyone's confidence going."
The Commodores and Gators will play the second game of the three game series tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. Right-hander Caleb Cotham will go for Vandy, while Florida will counter left-hander Nick Maronde.