Blunder on the Bases Costs No. 1 Florida

Florida had what it wanted. The tying run was on third in the ninth inning with no outs. After Mike Zunino struck out, Preston Tucker hit a towering fly ball that look like it would leave the stadium. Instead, it was caught at the warning track. Daniel Pigott was almost halfway down the base line and didn't tag up, costing No. 1 Florida the tying run and ending the game with a 7-6 win for LSU.

When the ball was hit, Daniel Pigott went down the base line and toward the plate. The Florida dugout erupted, thinking it was a walk-off home run, and Pigott did the same.

However, the ball dropped into the glove of LSU right fielder Mason Katz on the warning track and had Pigott scrambling back to the base to tag up. He knew he wouldn't make it home to score, so he stayed at third.

"I have no answer," a frustrated Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan said about Pigott not tagging up when the ball was hit. "If the ball is over the fence, he scores. If the ball is caught, he scores. If the ball is a foul ball, he scores. If the ball is dropped, he scores. I have no answer."

Pigott started the inning with a single and moved to third on an LSU fielding error when Casey Turgeon dropped down a sacrifice bunt.

After Tucker's fly out to right, Brian Johnson fouled out to the catcher to end the game.

The base running mistake for Florida cost the dugout and the stadium all the momentum and energy that were built in the ninth inning.

"I'm a little floored right now, to be honest with you," O'Sullivan said. "It's disappointing, and I've got no explanation for it. I've got no reason for it."

Pigott's excitement of a potential walk-off home run by Tucker got the best of him. Instead of going back to the bag, he was anticipating the ball to go over the fence.

"Obviously, that's what happened," O'Sullivan said. "He jumped up and down and thought it was a home run and lost his cool instead of just going back to the bag. Anytime the ball is hit to the outfield, you always go back to the bag."

The base running ended the late run Florida made. Despite falling behind 3-0 before ever coming to the plate, the Florida offense bounced back and scored one run in the seventh and two in the eighth to make the game manageable.

"If there's one positive, we battled back from a 6-2 deficit," O'Sullivan said. "That was the one positive."

Junior left-hander Brian Johnson struggled. He went four innings, giving up seven hits, six runs and one walk while striking out two. It was evident from the start that Johnson didn't have his usual command.

The early deficit put Florida in an early hole. Vickash Ramjit was the star at the plate, going 3-4 with four RBI, while the rest of the order struggled to capitalize and drive runs in.

"When you fall behind 3-0 after the first, that's difficult," O'Sullivan said. "That's hard."

The Gators will switch up the rotation for the rest of the weekend. Jonathon Crawford will start on Friday, pushing Karsten Whitson back to Saturday's game.

Hudson Randall will be held out this weekend with a "tired arm."

Friday's game will start at 7 p.m. and feature Crawford against LSU right-hander Kevin Gausman (5-0, 2.27).


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