Controversial Rain Delay Slows Sunday Finale

North Carolina State head coach Elliott Avent elected to hold ace Carlos Rodon for the second game of the Super Regional. The weather didn't give that move a chance to work. The second game of the Super Regional went through a rain delay over two hours on Sunday, and that's when the controversy began.

The radar looked clear for Gainesville in the early portions of the game. There was a large storm in the Gulf of Mexico that looked like it would stay north of Gainesville and not interfere with play. However, just as usually happens in the summer, a cell popped up out of nowhere just west of Gainesville.

Play was halted and the field was tarped before the rain began to fall, and it didn't take long before it started to pour. The rain was steady for two hours before the tarp was poured and unloaded water into the McKethan Stadium outfield.

The grounds crew took squeegees and blowers into the outfield and worked for close to an hour to make the field playable.

With the tarp pulled and work going on to make the outfield playable, North Carolina State head coach Elliott Avent made his thoughts evident from the minute the tarp came off. He paced around the outfield, pointing out multiple spots to the NCAA representatives that he thought were a hazard.

"This field has had a tremendous amount of water and people worked extremely hard to make it playable," Avent said after Florida's 9-8 win on Sunday. "They did an extremely good job. But there's that old saying that you just can't fight Mother Nature. I didn't see why we were trying to fight it."

Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan followed Avent's meeting with NCAA representatives with a meeting of his own. It didn't take long to realize that O'Sullivan was upset. He was joined in the conversation by Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley and other Florida staff members.

With the infield ready for play, the game sat halted for an extra hour because of Avent's protests.

"It was a very difficult couple of days," O'Sullivan said, noting that he thought the field was fine. "This time of year, stuff just pops up all of a sudden. It's tough because obviously both coaches don't want to use their starters and get into a situation where something else pops up."

The other side of Avent's arguments had to do with Carlos Rodon. The freshman left-hander threw 40 pitches in the first three perfect innings of work. If the game was pushed back to Monday, the Wolfpack likely would've sent Rodon back to the mound.

Instead, he was removed from the game after the lengthy delay, and Avent said there wasn't a chance they would have brought him back in the game.

"None whatsoever," Avent said. "On his part, yes. On my part, no. He begged. He tried to talk to the pitching coach, but it never was going to happen."

Avent admitted on Sunday that the most frustrating part of losing and watching his team's season end is that it happened with Rodon only throwing three innings.

"Extremely (frustrating)," Avent said. "That's why I had such input early on."

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