Florida baseball quickly knocked out of regional

By Adam Silverstein
June 1, 2013

Florida Gators baseball was knocked out of the Bloomington Regional round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament in quick order over the weekend, losing late leads in both games and seeing its season end during regional play for the first time since 2008.

The Gators (29-30) finished the 2013 season with a sub-.500 record for both the first time since 2007 and first time under the leadership of head coach Kevin O’Sullivan.

Trailing the No. 21 Austin Peay Governors 1-0 through five innings on Friday, Florida took a lead in the top of the sixth as sophomore right fielder Justin Shafer (1/3, HR, 3 RBI, R) came through with a big three-run homer.

Unfortunately for the Gators, which got a solid start from junior right-handed pitcher Jonathon Crawford (6.1 IP, 4 H, ER, 4 BB, 5 K), sophomore RHP Ryan Harris could not hold on to the lead in the eighth. Harris (1.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 K) coughed up a three-run dinger to designated hitter Michael Davis that gave the Governors a 4-3 lead and sent UF down to the Bloomington Regional loser’s bracket.

Florida matched up against the Valparaiso Crusaders on Saturday in an elimination game and once again looked to have the upper hand.

A six-hit rally in the top of the fourth, which included five-straight hits to lead off the inning, plated three important runs for the Gators. Florida added a fourth run one inning later and took a 4-1 lead with sophomore right-hander Johnny Magliozzi looking to be in command of his pitches and in control of the game.

Then the wheels fell off for the Gators in the bottom of the seventh.

Magliozzi (6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R [3 ER], 3 BB, 6 K) gave up two singles and a walk to start the frame before O’Sullivan finally pulled him for junior lefty Daniel Gibson. The Crusaders scored their first run of the inning as UF third baseman Josh Tobias (4/4, 2 RBI, R) was unable to wrangle a fielder’s choice and crossed the plate twice more on five-pitch and four-pitch walks thrown by Gibson.

With the game tied at 4-4, Harris replaced Gibson (0.0 IP, ER, 2 BB) and immediately forced a fielder’s choice that gave up another run before getting two more outs to finally conclude the frame. Harris (2.0 IP, K) did his job the rest of the way for Florida.

The Gators had two on with no outs in the top of the eighth and ninth but were not able to plate a runner in either inning, losing 5-4.

In the ninth, O’Sullivan called for a sacrifice bunt that advanced the runners into scoring position. However, sophomore catcher Taylor Gushue (0/5) – marred in a massive slump – struck out swinging and ended his season without a hit in his final 24 at-bats. Freshman outfielder Harrison Bader (2/5, 2 R, SB) followed by grounding out to third base to conclude the game.

Each of Florida’s tournament games were a microcosm of the team’s season as the Gators started slow, got hot and then dropped off in the end.

UF started the 2013 campaign 14-18 before winning 11 of its next 12 games and looking like it had turned things around. Instead, Florida concluded the season with five-straight losses (three in the postseason) and just four wins in its final 11 games.


  1. Donnie W says:

    Good bye to what was the most painful season of gator baseball that we’ve seen in some time. On a positive, many players will return with experience which I thought was the main downfall of this squad.

  2. joe says:

    Hard To Be Upbeat About Next Year With The Same Talent And Coaching Staff As This year

  3. Ken (CA) says:

    Sad the way they ended the season tanking so many games they could have won. Hopefully this young, talented team learns how to close out games next year and can finish much stronger than this year. Maybe we will get lucky and Whitsen will come back after his surgery for a year of rehab in college before hitting the circuit…doubtful, but can always hope….

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