More heroics from BT Riopelle carry UF baseball team past Vandy, into SEC Tourney semis

Florida has now beaten Vanderbilt in all four meetings this season
Florida catcher BT Riopelle (15) at bat during an NCAA regional championship baseball game...
Florida catcher BT Riopelle (15) at bat during an NCAA regional championship baseball game against Central Michigan on Friday, June 3, 2022 in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)(Gary McCullough | AP)
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 12:08 AM EDT
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HOOVER, Ala. (WCJB) -BT Riopelle is unconscious at the plate right now. The fifth-year Florida catcher homered twice, including the tie-breaking grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning on Thursday to lift the Gators over Vanderbilt, 6-3 and into the SEC Tournament semifinals. When you factor in Wednesday’s walk-off 11th inning homer to beat Alabama in the tournament opener, Riopelle has gone deep three times in the last two games and owns 13 homers on the year.

Florida (44-13) will face the winner of Friday’s Vanderbilt-Alabama elimination game in one SEC semifinal on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

Freshman Luke Heyman got the Gators on the board with a second inning solo home run, his tenth of the season to tie the game, 1-1. Riopelle followed with a solo homer of his own in the fourth to give Florida a 2-1 lead.

Davis Diaz answered back for Vanderbilt in the top of the fifth with an RBI single off Brandon Sproat, but the Florida starter went six innings and allowed just two runs. Sproat’s key moment came on his 98th and final pitch, which came with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth. Sproat induced a harmless dribbler to get out of the inning.

Vanderbilt (38-18) left nine runners on base and fell to 0-4 against Florida this season.

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