OMAHA, Neb — Nelson Maldonado singled to left field to score Dalton Guthrie and extend the Florida Gators lead to 3-0 in the fifth inning. A pitching change and three batters later he was limping off the field.
With Maldonado standing on second base Mike Rivera grounded a ball sharply to the third baseman. It was a tailor made inning ending double play but Maldonado hustled and tried to turn the bag at third. If there was a throwing error or something happened, he wanted to score. That turned into a rolled ankle.
“It was tough” Maldonado said. “It was a sharp pain.”
The coaching staff looked at him but Maldonado insisted on staying in the game. Maldonado had reason to want to stay in the game. He was 2-3 with a RBI and a double in the College World Series prior to rolling his ankle.
“I feel more relaxed. I don’t feel as much pressure as I did last year as a freshman,” he said. “I’m feeling good and seeing the ball really well.”
Maldonado talked his way into staying in the game and went back out to right field. He was tested in the seventh inning, Nate Warner sent a lazy fly ball that Maldonado had to move for but he handled it. He got another plate appearance in the eighth inning but flew out to right field. After he got back into the dugout Maldonado was immediately taken into the clubhouse and put into a walking boot for precaution.
“He’ll be fine. He just tweaked it a little bit,” manager Kevin O’Sullivan said. “I expect him to be fine on Tuesday.”