GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Cole Figueroa's three-run homer in the fifth proved to be the game-winner as Florida defeated Vanderbilt 5-4 Friday night at McKethan Stadium.
The Gators (33-20, 16-13 SEC) claimed the series with the win and moved ahead of the Commodores (37-17, 15-13 SEC) in the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division.
With Kentucky (41-14, 16-13 SEC) also winning, VU is now in fourth place in the East and would be the No. 5 seed in the SEC Tourney if the season ended today. The highest they can finish is the No. 3 seed and the lowest is No. 6.
Florida trailed 3-2 heading into the bottom of the fifth when Avery Barnes and Matt Den Dekker singled to lead off the inning. Figueroa then lined an opposite field homer to left off of VU starter Caleb Cotham to give the Gators a 5-3 lead.
The Commodores out-hit the Gators 11-8 in the game and had a chance to tie the game in the ninth, but Pedro Alvarez struck out with David Macias at second to end the contest. VU trailed 5-3 entering the ninth when Jonathan White reached on an error and advanced to third on a single to right by Macias. Saturday's scheduled starter for Florida, Patrick Keating, came on and got Dominic de la Osa to ground to third to score White and then struck out Alvarez to pick up his first save of the year.
Stephen Locke (5-2) scattered 10 hits over seven innings of work, allowing three runs with four strikeouts and a walk to pick up the win.
The Commodores had runners on first and second with no outs in the eighth but Florida reliever Josh Edmonson came on and struck out Shea Robin, Andrew Giobbi and Alex Feinberg in succession to end the threat.
The game was delayed for 49 minutes due to rain.
The Commodores got on the board first in the fourth inning scoring three runs courtesy of a two-run double by Andrew Giobbi and a RBI double by Alex Feinberg. Pedro Alvarez and Ryan Flaherty both singled with an out in the frame and after Shea Robin fouled out, Giobbi lined a double down the left field line. Feinberg then plated Giobbi with a double to right-center to make it 3-0.
The Gators came right back with a two-out rally of their own, scoring two runs on Clayton Pisani's double down the rightfield line that dropped right in front of a diving Dominic de la Osa. Josh Adams walked and Bryson Barber was hit by a pitch before Pisani's blooper to right brought them in.
Cotham (7-4) gave up five runs on five hits in four innings of work with four strikeout and three walks in the losing effort.
The Commodores had Feinberg and Robin at first and second with two outs in the sixth when Curt Casali singled to left. Robin tried to score from second but was thrown out at the plate by leftfielder Avery Barnes.
Mark Lamm pitched 3.1 innings of three-hit shutout baseball with a walk and no strikeouts in relief of Cotham. Chase Reid came on in the eighth with runners and first and second with one out and struck out the two batters he faced to keep the UF advantage to two runs.
Giobbi, Alvarez, Flaherty and Feinberg led the Commodores with two hits apiece while Matt den Dekker led the Gators with three hits.
The teams will close out the three game set tomorrow at Noon CT. Right-hander Nick Christiani (5-3, 4.37 ERA) will take the hill for VU, while UF's starter is now to be determined.