Riopelle extends epic tournament in UF win over Vandy
1 day ago
Isaiah Houde | SEC Network
HOOVER, Alabama — For the second night in a row, BT Riopelle was everything Florida needed from him, and more.
The 1st-seeded Gators defeated the 4-seeded Commodores in an all-around with a 6-3 win in the SEC Tournament on Thursday at the Hoover Met.
Florida has become the only show to reach the semi-finals of the SEC Tournament in the previous three seasons.
Despite the final score, Commodores scored 10 hits and continued to fight.
The speed of Enrique Bradfield Jr. has been a key element in Vanderbilt’s league so far. Center controller started Dores’ night with a treble in the left-hand half and was sent home with a follow-up hit — following up on his performance the night before with two points.
That lead didn’t last long, however, when Luke Heyman hurled a 421-foot bomb into the midfield and ended the game with a score of one. With homer, Heyman became the sixth Florida player to hit 10th for the year, which is a show record.
Florida continues to run home alone with the Riopelle dinger. The catcher sent a 435-foot bomb to the right area with an exit velocity of 107 MPH in David Horn’s first inning on the mound.
Vandy went on to hit back and score thanks to a Davis Diaz hit – he was driving in four of Commodores’ eight runs in the league at the time.
Brandon Sproat ignited the fire for the Gators and kept a low score for six innings with only two runs and six attacks. He was replaced by Cade Fisher early Saturday.
The Gators pitchers conceded nine shots in those innings, but they set the perfect timing for Riopelle to build on his perfect SEC run.
With two turns out and the facilities fully loaded — Riopelle took the big 424-foot hit to create the necessary separation in the game.
The two most recent multiplayer matches in the SEC Tournament were by Florida players, with Wyatt Langford completing it last year. It also marks the Gators’ ninth big win this season — the most in the SEC.
Vandy tried to pull back when Jonathan Vastine hit his fourth fight of the year and finished the game in three turns.
But that wasn’t enough to boost Riopelle’s heroism and the resilient defense Florida had deployed.
HOW IT HAPPENED
T1 | Bradfield tripled to the left side of the field. Diaz landed and Bradfield Jr. Vanderbilt 1, Florida 0.
B2 | Heyman focused on the central area. Vanderbilt 1, Florida 1.
B4 | Riopelle on the right field. Florida 2, Vanderbilt 1.
T5 | Single Vastine up the middle. Diaz hit the left flank, RBI (2-2 BBKK); Vastine scored. Florida 2, Vanderbilt 2.
B7 | Kurland was walking. Caglianone was hit on target, Kurland was promoted to second. Rivera was on foot, Caglianone advanced second and Kurland advanced third. Riopelle kicked left center to score goals for Kurland, Caglianone and Rivera. Florida 6, Vanderbilt 2.
T8 | Vastine hits a solo homer. Florida 6, Vanderbilt 3.
Florida (43-13) will advance to the semifinals to face the winner of Game 14. The first pitch is scheduled to begin 30 minutes after the game at 1 p.m. ET in a competition that will televised on the SEC Network.
Vanderbilt (38-17) will face ninth seed Alabama in the fourth round. The first pitch is scheduled to begin 30 minutes after the 4 p.m. ET Texas A&M-LSU game in a competition that will be televised on the SEC Network.