No. 1 Florida baseball jumps on Auburn to open Gainesville Super Regional play

By Adam Silverstein
June 9, 2018
No. 1 Florida baseball jumps on Auburn to open Gainesville Super Regional play

Image Credit: Mike Dixon/AP

The duel between the top pitchers in the Southeastern Conference turned out to be a one-sided affair on Saturday as No. 1 Florida Gators baseball jumped all over the Auburn Tigers to pick up an 8-2 win and 1-0 lead in the 2018 Gainesville Super Regional.

Florida junior right-handed pitcher Brady Singer (6.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K) was stellar in his final outing at McKethan Stadium. Though Auburn got to him early, miscues from UF’s defense aided AU in taking an early 2-0 lead through the top of the third inning. Once Singer settled, he only gave up one hit over his final four frames before exiting.

Tigers RHP Casey Mize, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, was not as successful Saturday. Mize (5.0 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 5 K) gave up a career-high in earned runs and season-high in walks before departing early. He was rolling along fine through the first two innings but struggled from there on out.

Consecutive singles and a walk loaded the bases for the Gators to open the bottom of the third with one down before a trio of sophomores put the hosts on top. A two-run single off the right-field wall by right fielder Wil Dalton (1/2, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB) tied it up, and a fielder’s choice RBI from left fielder Austin Langworthy (0/3, RBI, R, BB), which would’ve been a single save for a tremendous stop by the first baseman, wound up sending him to second on a failed attempt to take Langworthy out at first. Two batters later, an RBI single to right by first baseman Keenan Bell (2/3, RBI) gave UF a 4-2 lead, erasing an early deficit and putting the home team in a position of power.

Auburn did not score again as the hosts tallied eight unanswered runs. Florida tacked on two more runs in the fifth due in large part to a pair of errors committed by the visitors, and the Gators added one each in the sixth and eighth on respective solo home runs by juniors shortstop Deacon Liput (3/5, HR, RBI, 2 R) and designated hitter Nelson Maldonado (2/5, HR, RBI, 2 R).

Junior RHP Michael Byrne was no less dominant in relief than Singer in his start, striking out four of the eight batters he faced while only allowing a single hit through two frames.

With a 1-0 lead in Gainesville Super Regional play, defending national champion Florida is now one win away from advancing to the College World Series for the fourth straight season and seventh time in the last nine years under head coach Kevin O’Sullivan. The Gators will send junior RHP Jackson Kowar (9-5, 3.37 ERA) to the mound on Sunday in an attempt to do just that. If necessary, Game 3 would be played on Monday.

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