No. 3 Florida Loses Shot at SEC Title

The Gators had their chance at a piece of the SEC title for the third straight year. The only outcome that didn't happen was Florida securing the sweep. The Gators dropped Saturday's series finale at Auburn 5-4 and ended the SEC regular season one game behind LSU. Florida will now play on Tuesday at the SEC Tournament.

The Florida offense got off to a hot start for the third straight game but couldn't get on the board when the team needed it in the late innings. Florida trailed 5-4 heading into the ninth inning but showed signs of life when Preston Tucker singled with one out and moved to third base on a Mike Zunino double.

The game ended when Brian Johnson flew out to Auburn right fielder Creede Simpson, who threw Tucker out at the plate for the final out.

The Gators held a 4-2 lead in the seventh inning and turned the ball over to the back end of the bullpen that had been dominant all season. That wasn't the case on Saturday. Florida went to Steven Rodriguez, who allowed three hits and three runs during one inning of work.

Rodriguez left the game with the Gators holding a one-run lead. Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan went to closer Austin Maddox. Auburn DH/pitcher Justin Bryant rolled a ground ball up the middle that was knocked down by Florida second baseman Casey Turgeon, but he couldn't make the play at first and two runs scored to give Auburn the lead.

After his two-run single gave Auburn the lead, Bryant stayed on the mound and threw the final two innings of the game.

The Florida offense's strong start wasn't enough to hold off the Tigers. After Brian Johnson singled and Daniel Pigott doubled to start the second inning, Casey Turgeon followed with a two-run triple. After Justin Shafer walked, Vickash Ramjit hit into a double play that allowed Turgeon to score.

Tucker record an RBI single to right field in the fourth inning to push the Florida lead to 4-0.

Karsten Whitson started and went five innings, allowing three hits, two walks and two runs (one earned) while striking out two. Whitson threw 53 of his 86 pitches for strikes.

The loss kept the Gators one win short of forcing a shared SEC Championship with LSU. It would have been the third straight SEC Championship for Florida.

The Gators will have the No. 3 seed at the SEC Tournament with the first game coming against No. 10 seed Auburn on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. EST.

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