Run-ruled out of SEC Tournament, Florida baseball focuses on defending national title

By Adam Silverstein
May 26, 2018
Run-ruled out of SEC Tournament, Florida baseball focuses on defending national title

Image Credit: ESPN Images

No. 1 Florida Gators baseball (42-17) lost for the sixth time in its last seven games, dropping consecutive contests in the 2018 SEC Tournament this week with the LSU Tigers bouncing the Gators out of the event in dominant fashion on Saturday morning.

In a game delayed overnight due to fog with just four outs to play, LSU run-ruled Florida 11-0 in a seven-inning affair. It is the second time in as many seasons that UF got dropped out of its conference tournament via run rule, and the result continued a late-season slide for the Gators.

Ever since Florida locked up the SEC regular season title on May 12, it has dropped six of seven games with its lone victory coming in the opening game of the SEC Tournament, a 4-3 win over LSU. UF fell 8-2 to Arkansas on Friday morning to move into the loser’s bracket before being ousted from the event altogether on Saturday.

The Gators have been outscored 54-16 over those six losses and entered the weekend with their ace, junior right-handed pitcher Brady Singer, and top hitter in senior catcher JJ Schwarz both sidelined due to injury. Singer is expected back for the start of the 2018 NCAA Tournament, but there’s a chance Schwarz is unable to go in the regional round.

Despite Florida’s late-season struggles, it is all but guaranteed a national seed when the NCAA Tournament is laid out, and many experts believe it will hold onto the No. 1 overall seed as the most dominant team in the nation over the course of the season.

Either way, the Gators will host the Gainesville Regional for the fifth straight season next week. Florida is 11-2 advancing out of the Gainesville Regional all-time, 8-1 since 2005.

UF won its first national championship last season, going 10-3 in the NCAA Tournament after being run-ruled out of the 2017 SEC Tournament in similar fashion. However, Florida did not suffer the same late-season slide last year, winning seven of its last nine games before the NCAA Tournament.

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