By Nick de la Torre
After falling to Florida Gulf Coast on Friday and Saturday, the Gators looked to avoid being swept at home for the first time since 2009 on Sunday afternoon.
For the second time this season, Florida would find themselves in extra innings. The Gators were able to load the bases in the 10th inning, with no outs, but somehow failed to get the winning run across the plate. The Eagles would make Florida pay in the top of the 11th.
With two men on base and just one out, Sean Dwyer stepped up to the plate. Dwyer deposited Justin Shafer’s first offering into the bleachers over the right field wall for a three-run home run. The Gators couldn’t match that output in the bottom of the 11th and lost the game 7-4.
“We Got the bases loaded with nobody out, and the swings got too big,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We’ve got to stay short to the ball and just hit a fly ball, just to give us a chance to score a run. It’s as simple as that.”
The Gators have now lost four straight games and are hitting just .243 over that stretch. With a roster that includes 28 freshmen and sophomores, a slow start should have been expected but it doesn’t make O’Sullivan feel any better.
“First of all, I want to congratulate Florida Gulf Coast,” O’Sullivan said. “They earned what they got this weekend, so I don’t want to take anything away from them. With that being said we have a lot to work on.”
While the Gators haven’t been hitting the ball well, the pitching staff has been equally as disappointing. Florida hasn’t had a starting pitcher make it more than 5.1 innings and the bullpen is getting worn out because of it.
“We’ve got to get the ball down, we’ve got to execute better on the mound, we’ve got to get better starts,” O’Sullivan said. “We haven’t had a really good start all year long.”
The road doesn’t get much easier for the Gators, as they will play host to UNF (5-2) on Tuesday before starting a three-game weekend series against Miami (7-0) on Friday night.