Gators baseball quickly eliminated from SEC Tournament, NCAA hopes in jeopardy

By Adam Silverstein
May 21, 2013

By Andrew Olson – OGGOA Contributor

Coming off losing three of their last four regular season games, eight-seed Florida Gators baseball (29-28) went one-and-out in the 2013 Southeastern Conference Tournament, losing 6-3 to the nine-seed Texas A&M Aggies (31-25) in a single-elimination first round game on Tuesday.

After going on a winning streak in April where they won 11-of-12 games, the Gators looked to have significantly improved their chances of participating in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Florida has not done itself any favors since, losing nine of its last 13 games and putting its NCAA Tournament hopes in the hands of the selection committee, which must weigh UF’s difficult schedule against its disappointing finish to the season.

The Gators got the start they were looking for on Tuesday, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Florida first got on the board without a hit as sophomore right fielder Justin Shafer (0/4, R) reached on an error, advanced to second on a balk, moved up to third on a failed pick-off attempt and scored on a ground out by senior first baseman Vickash Ramjit (0/4, RBI). The Gators got their second run of the inning off three singles with sophomore designated hitter Zack Powers (1/4, R) crossing the plate when senior shortstop Cody Dent (1/2, RBI) knocked him home.

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Johnny Magliozzi (6.2 IP, 4 H, 5 R [4 ER], BB, 6 K) started smooth by retiring the first 10 batters he faced but ran into trouble in the middle innings Aggies third baseman Hunter Melton tilted the score 3-2 in Texas A&M’s favor with a three-run homer in the fourth inning.

UF tied the game at 3-3 in the fifth inning when sophomore 3B Josh Tobias (1/3, R), on the base paths after smacking a single to open the frame, was brought home from third on a two-out wild pitch. Sophomore second baseman Casey Turgeon (0/3, BB) checked his swing on a wild pitch, and with TAMU looking for the called strike three, Tobias took off to an uncovered home plate.

Dent and Tobias made costly errors in the sixth inning, and the Aggies cashed in to retake the lead, 5-3. Despite the lead change, Gators head coach Kevin O’Sullivan stuck with Magliozzi into the seventh inning.

Magliozzi struggled as his pitch count increased with the opposite being true for Texas A&M hurler Daniel Mengden, who retired 12 in a row to finish a complete game outing and left the mound with 11 strikeouts on the evening.

With the SEC up to 14 teams beginning this season, the league adjusted the tournament format, establishing a single-elimination opening round for seeds No. 5-12.

Florida’s exit from the tournament might double as its final outing of the 2013 campaign. The Gators were once thought to be a lock for the NCAA Tournament if they were to finish the season eligible (above the .500 mark) but earning a NCAA berth is no longer guaranteed considering how poor the team has been playing.

Adding insult to injury, four of Florida’s most recent losses were to teams in last place of their divisions (Auburn, Georgia). The Gators’ case for an NCAA Tournament appearance rests primarily on its RPI (26) and strength of schedule (three). Florida will out if that will be enough on Monday, May 27 at noon when the bracket is unveiled.

Photo Credit: The Boston Globe

One Comment

  1. joe says:

    I was really high on this team. I never saw this type of colaspe coming especially to Auburn and Georgia. Georgia only won one SEC series all year and that was against us and right after they fired their coach. That 18-6 drubbing by LSU really zapped any life that this team had left. You could just see in the final innings of yesterday’s game our guys just wanted it to end. I give Sully a pass this year, but if next year looks a lot like this one, his seat should get very hot.

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