SEC Championship: Gators 7, Alabama 6 in Riopelle’s Game-Winning Blast (11 rounds)

What happened: catcher PT Riupel The game-winning three-run homer slammed in the bottom of the 11th inning off a left-pinching Alabama freshman Elton Davis II To lift the Gators to a 7-6 win over Alabama in the Southeastern Conference Championship opener in Florida at the Hoover Met on Wednesday. Riopelle’s outburst was a dramatic turn of events off the top of the inning. Alabama Tommy Seidl Base drills clearing three double runs off the vasculature Brandon Neely With two outs in the top of the 11 to put the Crimson Tide up 6-3. The Gators responded with four straight hits in the bottom of the inning, highlighted by a homer by Riopelle for the #1-ranked puncher. Florida hit early on a homer from the shortstop Josh Rivera In the bottom of Alabama’s first start Luke Holman. However, the Crimson Tide fell back on top, tying the game in the fifth inning before taking a 3-2 lead in the sixth on a solo homer by a third baseman. Colby Shelton.

Play(s) the game: Besides the obvious, trailing by running and seeking a base with a two-hit, UF has designated hitters Luke Heyman He hit a fly ball to center that looked ready to drop for a hit in the bottom of the seventh. That’s when the Crimson Tide center player Caden Rose He left his feet and made a stunning jump to end the half and preserve his team’s lead 3-2. Not to be outdone by the Gators’ second baseman Kid Kurland He made a great diving stop and threw for the first time to retire Alabama Drew Williamson to drive the top of the eighth.

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Gators shortstop Josh Rivera Called in the first half of a Wednesday night game against Alabama. (picture: Emma Bissell/UAA connections)

In the spotlight: Crocodile start Hurston Waldrip His first postseason start since pitching for Southern Mississippi last season in the Hattiesburg Super Regional. Waldrip delivered a solid performance, limiting Alabama to five hits and three runs over ‚Äč5 2/3 innings pitched. Waldrab hit seven and walk two in a walk of 87 pitches. Waldrip faced the bottom line through 3 2/3 innings until the Crimson Tide broke through with a two-run home run in the fourth (see “Key Moment” below).

Strange case: The Gators have played 55 regular season games heading into the SEC Championship, none of them going to extra innings. Wednesday’s game was the Gators’ first overtime game since a 2-1 victory over South Carolina on May 24, 2022, in 65 games.

Key moment: Alabama scored its first run in the top of the fourth with a two-out that started in unusual fashion. with Drew Williamson At the plate, he hit a ground ball between the Gators’ first and second basemen Jack Caglianon receipt. However, when Caglianone was looking to make a throw to first, Waldrip was late covering the bag. Waldrew’s hat fell from his head and covered his eyes after he introduced him to Williamson, preventing him from seeing the play until it was too late. “We’ll talk about this game with the equipment manager,” the Gators coach said Kevin O’Sullivan sarcastically to SEC Network Next inning crew. hit and trail the next batter, Andrew Pinckneywith the pitch and gave up an RBI single to Shelton before he was out Dominic Tamez To end the half with UF leading 2-1.

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In numbers: 15 – Home runs for Rivera, hook up Brady McConnell (2019) for the most UF shortstops in a single season; 113 – The Gators were beaten this season by the Gators, who are ranked third in the program’s single-season record book.

Riopelle, BT (2023 SEC Championship Game vs. Alabama)
PT Riupel reacts after hitting a game-winning home run against Alabama Wednesday night in the SEC Championship Game in Hoover, Ala. (Image: Emma Bissell/UAA connections)

From the trainer: Coach Kevin O’Sullivan On the emotional win: “I’m not going to lie, it was exciting. You rarely come back from a deficit three overs on the 11th and have the ability to bounce back from a tough top on the 11th. Obviously, all the momentum was in but there’s a lot of positives in this match, we wanted to keep Hurston to around 85 runs.” , and I think he threw 87 because he was on short rest. Ryan Slater He continues to do exactly what we ask him to do. Philip Abner He came and did his job. And we extended Indigo. He has the potential to do that, potentially — obviously he won’t be available in the next two, three days, probably, but we’ve extended him in case we need him in the post-season. We’ve had a flexible group all year, and that’s just another example, but it sure was an exciting win.”

From the player: UF Catcher PT Riupel On Homer: “It means the world to me, but it definitely means the world to our team. That was a final win for the team. You look at the last half, we’ve talked before about how your best players have to play better to win. Like Soule said, Alabama is a very old team.” I think they start one guy in the lineup that’s a junior, the rest are juniors or above, so that’s a tough team [beat]. But our best players in the final half came when it meant the most, and in the end, it’s a great win for our team, not just me individually.”

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the next: The Gators (43-13) take on the winner of Wednesday’s late game between Auburn and Vanderbilt in the late Thursday night game, which is scheduled to start 30 minutes after the 5:30 p.m. ET game ends.

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