Heat-Related Issues Force Randall From Game

OMAHA, Neb. – With Hudson Randall on the mound in an elimination game, the Gators couldn't have been in a better position after Saturday's loss. That was until Randall took the mound in the first inning. The junior right-hander was pulled from the game because of heat-related issues after working one inning. Jonathon Crawford was forced into relief duty.

After Nolan Fontana made an error with one out in the first, Randall allowed back-to-back singles to give the Golden Flashes an early 1-0 lead. TJ Sutton grounded out to second base for the second out of the inning but moved two runners into scoring position.

Kevin O'Sullivan made a trip to the mound to help Randall regroup and make sure he focused on the hitter. He ended up staying on the mound for longer than expected.

"I went out there to give him a little breather to catch his breath," O'Sullivan said of Hudson Randall. "It was obvious he was having a little trouble breathing. We brought the trainer out and kind of slowed things down."

Randall talked his way into staying in the game and struck out Sawyer Polen to get out of the jam. When he got back to the dugout, there was a more extended conversation with coaches and training staff.

"I asked him in the dugout if he was okay to go back out—be brutally honest with me," O'Sullivan said. "He looked me in the eye, and I could tell he wasn't ready to go back out."

Jonathon Crawford sprinted to the bullpen behind the right field fence in the middle of the inning to warm up. He didn't get more than five minutes to throw before the inning ended and he was forced onto the mound.

Home plate umpire Phil Benson gave Crawford some extra time to warm up on the mound since Randall was pulled because of a health-related reason.

Crawford wasn't the version of himself that was dominant near the end of the season, but the defense didn't help him. Third baseman Josh Tobias couldn't cleanly field a sacrifice bunt attempt from the second batter of the inning. After Crawford recorded a ground out and strikeout, he couldn't secure the final out to end the inning.

Crawford gave up three straight RBI singles to allow Kent State to tack on runs and make it a 4-0 lead after two innings.

"Randall was a guy that we wanted to wait back on and try to attack his fastball a little more and see it deep," Kent State shortstop Jimmy Rider said, noting that his team made an adjustment at the plate when Randall came out. "Crawford comes in, and he's throwing upper 90s, mid 90s. We had to jump on his fastball a little bit more and get the front foot down early to be able to do that."

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