Another day in Bloomington produced another late inning collapse for the Gators baseball team. Unfortunately for Kevin O’Sullivan’s team, the loss today signaled the end of the 2013 season.
The Gators came into the weekend with 12-straight regional wins but were bounced out of the NCAA Tournament after losing back-to-back games for the first time since 2008.
Florida finished the season with a sub .500 record (29-30) for the first time since 2007 and for the first time in the O’Sullivan era.
Johnny Magliozzi got the start for the Gators today, his fourth start of the season, and gave the Gators a very productive outing.
After striking out the first batter of the game, Magliozzi gave up a solo homerun to Spencer Mahoney before striking out the next two batters in the inning.
Florida would answer the Crusaders run with three of their own in the top of the fourth inning. Harrison Bader led the inning off with a single and was quickly brought in off of the bat of Josh Tobias. Tobias, who went 4-4 on the day, sent a shot into the left-center gap, scoring Bader and putting himself into scoring position. Zack Powers followed with a single before a Cody Dent double brought in both Tobias and Powers. It took the Gators five hits to score three runs and take a 3-1. Florida tacked on another run in the sixth to extend the lead to 4-1.
Magliozzi was cruising at this point, retiring 10-of-11 straight batters, before getting into trouble in the bottom of the seventh.
Billy Cribbs led the inning off with a single, Bryce Hara walked and an Andrew Bain single loaded the bases with no outs. The two hits would be the only two that the Crusaders would get in the inning, but they were just getting started.
Magliozzi was pulled in favor of Daniel Gibson. Spencer Mahoney hit a soft line drive toward Tobias at third, he trapped the ball but couldn’t come up with it in time to make a play at home, first or even tag the runner on the way to third. Tobias was given an error on the play and just like that Valparaiso cut Florida’s lead to 2-runs and still had the bases loaded with no outs. Gibson walked the next two batters he faced to tie the game and Valparaiso would take the lead on a fielders choice to Dent at shortstop.
When the seventh inning finally came to a close the Crusaders had scored four runs on just two hits.
The Gators challenged in the eight and ninth innings but couldn’t get the clutch, timely hit they needed to tie or reclaim the lead.
The 2013 season has been a rollercoaster for the Gators and their fans. A young team, Florida could never build enough momentum to carry them throughout the season and they ended up losing seven of their last nine games.
O’Sullivan will lose only two seniors (Dent, Ramjit) and shouldn’t lose too many current players to the MLB Draft. The real issue will be how many players from Florida’s No. 1 ranked recruiting class actually make it to campus.
- This was the first ever meeting between Florida and Valparaiso in baseball.
- The win marked the first NCAA tournament victory for Valparaiso since 1966.
- This was Florida’s sixth straight regional under Kevin O’Sullivan.
- Florida left 11 runners on base.
- Josh Tobias was 4-4 on the day, the first time he has ever collected four hits in a single game.
- Harrison Bader and Richie Martin both reached base for the 18th consecutive game.
- Florida’s two loses this weekend came off of the back end of a 12-game regional winning streak.