No. 1 Gators Drop Midweek Game to UNF

It wasn't the way Florida wanted to end its eight-game road trip. The Gators fell behind early and couldn't come back at North Florida on Tuesday. Florida closed its road trip with a 4-4 record before returning home to host LSU on Thursday night. The Gators dropped a 10-5 decision at North Florida Tuesday.

"That's the worst game we've played all year," Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan said on the post-game radio show. "We really didn't do anything well tonight. We didn't hit very well with runners in scoring position. We didn't play great defense—I can't remember the last time we made three errors in a game. We didn't pitch very well. We only put two zeros on the board, and every other inning, they scored.

"We've got to get better. It was a bad game, and we're extremely disappointed we didn't play better."

The Gators tacked on one run in the first inning, but it should've been more. After Daniel Pigott and Casey Turgeon both reached to start the game, Pigott scored when Mike Zunino reached on an error. The Gators had first and third with still no outs, but it stayed like that.

Preston Tucker and Taylor Gushue eached fouled out before Nolan Fontana grounded out to first base to end the inning.

Florida had the Ospreys right where they wanted them, before Tucker couldn't cash in the runs.

"He has to have a better at-bat than that," O'Sullivan said. "Worst case scenario, we get a fly ball to the outfield to drive in one more. Even a double play drives in another run. We just can't have at-bats like that and expect to win.

"We lean on him a lot. He has been hitting in the middle of our order for four years. We just have to have better at-bats there."

Karsten Whitson started the game on the mound and got the results both he and the coaching staff were looking for. He tossed just the first inning and struck out two batters on eight pitches, throwing seven for strikes.

There's a chance Whitson could rejoin the weekend rotation on Saturday when the Gators host the series finale against LSU.

After Whitson came out, the bullpen struggled.

Seven pitchers, five of which were freshmen, totaled to throw seven innings, allowing 13 hits, 10 runs (seven earned) and four walks. It was good experienced for a young pitching staff, but the results weren't good.

North Florida scored in six of their seven innings at the plate against the Florida bullpen.

"When (they) keep tacking on one run, it's deflating," O'Sullivan said. "It's really hard to get the momentum back offensively."

The Gators have to regroup quickly. Florida hosts LSU in a conference series beginning on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. on ESPNU.

"We'll have to regroup and get ready to play LSU," O'Sullivan said. "We'll have to flush this one out. No one is more disappointed than our team with the way we played tonight. We've got to take this as well as we do the good games, but we've just got to get better."


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