Alex Faedo walked just seven batters in 26.1 innings entering the SEC opener at Auburn. He walked six over a forgetful four-plus innings of work in a 14-3 loss to the Auburn Tigers ( on Friday night.
A pitching duel between two Friday night aces turned into a lopsided affair with the Tigers posting season-high for runs (14) and posted its largest winning margin of the season.
Faedo (3-1, 2.93 ERA) entered the game with 21.2 consecutive scoreless innings. The junior, who is projected as a high-end first round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, was off his game and the Auburn batters made him pay for it. Faedo needed 19 pitches to get out of the first inning and 25 more to get out of the second after surrendering an earned run, snapping his scoreless innings streak at 23.1 innings.
Florida got on the board first, however, thanks to an Auburn error. Keenan Bell (0-3) lofted a fly ball to the warning track and into the sun setting over the first base side of Plainsman Park. Bell, who was hustling, made it to second and moved to third on a Deacon Liput (0-1) bunt. Christian Hicks (1-4) drove him in with a single back up the middle.
After putting up a zero in the third the wheels fell off for Faedo and the Gators in the fourth and fifth innings. Faedo gave up two runs on a Will Holland home run that cleared the green monster sized wall in left field.
In the fifth Bowen McGuffin led off with a double. Faedo got Josh Anthony to ground out but plunked Daniel Robert in the back with his 100th pitch of the game and walked Dylan Ingram after that. Kevin O’Sullivan had seen enough, yanking Faedo in favor of freshman Kirby McMullen. The righty gave up a one-run single and hit a batter with the bases loaded before he could earn a strikeout and the second out of the inning. A bases loaded walk would be McMullen’s swan song, replaced by Nick Horvath. Horvath’s fifth pitch was laced into left field, scoring two. Two singles and a passed ball later the Tigers had three more runs and an 11-1 lead.
Jonathan India hit a solo home run, his team-leading third of the season, in the sixth inning but Auburn replied with two of their own in the bottom half. They added another run in the seventh and Florida scored one more in the top of the ninth. Ryan Larson led the ninth off with a triple and scored on a Christian Hicks ground out.
The loss is the Gators’ worst of the season. The bats continue to slump. Florida came into the game hitting just .242 (144-583) and were 5-31 (.161) on the night. Florida has yet to win a road game (0-4) this season.
Florida and Auburn will resume the series on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET at Plainsman Park. The game will air live on SEC Network+.