Gators Strand 12 in Loss at UT

No. 4 Florida had the bases loaded with one out down a run in the ninth inning. The game seemed like it would be tied at the worst. Instead, something even worse for the Gators happened. Vickash Ramjit hit a ball down the third base line to was turned into a double play to clinch Tennessee's 5-4 win that evened the series.

It didn't end without controversy. Vickash Ramjit hit the ball up the third base line. Tennessee third baseman Zach Luther dove for the ball and smothered it. Home plate umpire Ken Couch signaled that it was a foul ball, which caused Ramjit to hesitate out of the batter's box.

However, when the ball goes past third base, the call becomes the responsibility of third base umpire Scott Kennedy, who ruled the ball fair. Luther got to his feet after the dive, stepped on third base and threw across to first base with Ramjit about halfway down the first base line to end the game.

"There was some miscommunication between the home plate umpire and Vickash," Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan said on the post game radio show. "The home plate umpire said foul ball, but once the ball gets past the bag at third, it's the third base umpire's call.

"The bottom line is you've got to run it out, but he didn't because the home plate umpire said, ‘foul ball.'" We've just got to do a better job of situational hitting."

It wasn't the first time the Florida offense dealt with frustration on Saturday. The Gators left 12 hitters on base during the game. After scoring four runs in the first five innings, Florida didn't score once in the final five innings of the game.

"There are a lot of things that happened throughout the game to where we might not have been in that situation," O'Sullivan said about the final play.

Tennessee scored four runs (three earned) off Karsten Whitson in his three-inning start. The three final runs that Tennessee scored in the game all came on safety squeeze plays. The Volunteers don't have a lineup that can hit the ball out of the park very often, so they rely on small ball to jumpstart their offense.

"That's part of their offense," O'Sullivan said. "They did a nice job with their bunt game to push across a couple runs on some push bunts."

When Whitson came out, right-hander John Magliozzi kept the Gators in the game. The freshman threw five innings, allowing two hits and one run while striking out two hitters. It was easily the best outing of his career and helped Florida save some arms in the bullpen by eating up five innings.

"If there was a bright spot today, I thought he looked really, really good," O'Sullivan said. "I know he was excited to get out there, and he gave us everything he needed to keep us in the ball game and let us try to take the lead."

The teams will play the rubber game of the series on Sunday at 2 p.m.

"We've just got to do a better job offensively," O'Sullivan said. "We've got some guys that need to step up for us. We've got a chance to win the series."

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