Hogs tag Singer for six, spoil SEC home opener for Gators

The battle between two top-50 prospects for the 2018 MLB Draft promised to deliver scouts and a quick, pitcher’s duel but ended up a three-out, nine run affair with the No. 4 Arkansas Razorbacks (17-5, 4-0 SEC) beating the Gators (19-5, 2-2 SEC) 6-3 on Friday night.

Brady Singer and Blaine Knight brought in a combined 8-8 record and 1.72 ERA but it was Knight, not Singer, that looked the part on Friday night striking out 10 over 6.2 innings.

“The bottom line is we just gotta do a little bit better offensively,” O’Sullivan said. “But we got beat by a really good pitcher tonight. It’s part of it and it happens.”

After the two future first rounders traded three up and three down frames in the first the Hogs got to Singer in the second. Dominic Fletcher dropped a perfect bunt down the third base line and by the time Singer was able to get to it there was no play to be had. Singer went 0-2 on Jordan McFarland but walked the five-hole hitter and Heston Kjerstad doubled home both runners. Singer bounced back, inducing a weak popup but nine-hole hitter Carson Shaddy lined a fastball off a Singer’s right leg that ricocheted through the right side, allowing two more runs to score.

The Gators loaded the bases in its half of the inning but Knight left them loaded with back-to-back strikeouts.

Singer struggled again in he fourth inning. Fletcher hit a solo home run off the brick pillar of the scoreboard. Kjerstad singled and later came home on a sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 5-0.

“The bottom line is we just gotta do a little bit better offensively,” O’Sullivan said. “But we got beat by a really good pitcher tonight. It’s part of it and it happens.”

The Gators cut into the score with Deacon Liput’s two-run home run, his first one of the season but Arkansas answered with a run in the sixth.

Singer would finish the night throwing seven innings. The junior gave up six runs, all earned, including a season high three home runs. Singer had faced Arkansas previously, in an even rougher outing. In the 2017 SEC Tournament the Hogs touched Singer up for eight runs, all earned, in just one inning of work.

“I put runs on the board and they beat us,” Singer said. “Not much else to say.”

Wil Dalton hit his 10th home run of the season, a solo home run in the seventh inning to make the score 6-3 and Florida continued to have chances. Jonathan India led the eighth inning off with a single but was stranded and Brady Smith doubled with one out in the ninth but he too was left on base.

The win dropped Florida to 2-2 in conference play, while Arkansas remained unbeaten, improving to 4-0.

Friday’s game is on ESPN 2 at noon with Jackson Kowar (3-1, 3.16 ERA) facing off against Isaiah Campbell (2-2, 1.73 ERA)

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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC