Florida season ends in disappointing fashion

Florida coasted through the first 2+ innings of play in Saturday's elimination game before a rain delay halted play for over three hours. Once play resumed, the game was over quickly. North Carolina pounced on reliever Kirby Snead for a five-run third inning that ended Florida's season after Saturday's 5-2 defeat.

Since 2007, only two national seeds have gone 0-2 in the NCAA Tournament. Both happened on Saturday, as No. 5 Florida State was eliminated on Saturday and No. 2 Florida suffered the same fate hours later.

After winning the regular season Southeastern Conference title and making it to the SEC Tournament final, the Gators went two-and-out of the NCAA Tournament with losses to College of Charleston and North Carolina.

"I don't want these last two games to be a reflection of what this team is about," Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "They accomplished a lot. In this day and age, you're judged on how you do in the postseason. I understand that. But as far as the people involved in the program, we're proud of what we accomplished. We're disappointed. We're shocked. But at the end of the day, we accomplished a lot.

"I didn't see it coming. I felt very good coming into the weekend."

The story of the NCAA Tournament for Florida was its inability to take advantage of base runners. The Gators left 13 runners on base on Saturday, pushing the weekend total to 24.

"They tried to do too much," O'Sullivan said. "Your swings get bigger. They pull off the ball a little more and try to do too much. They were pressing. That's natural."

After Taylor Gushue struck out for the second time this weekend with the bases loaded and one out, Zack Powers singled to center to score the runner from third base. Richie Martin, who was on second before the pitch, tripped coming around third base and was thrown out at home plate.

"It was unfortunate," third baseman Josh Tobias said. "It rained so it was wet. We thought he would scored, but he slipped."

The pitching staff had its own struggles, but the game was decided by a five-run third inning. Florida starter Bobby Poyner allowed a single followed by an error from Florida third baseman Josh Tobias on what had a chance to be a double play ball. After Poyner worked into a 1-2 count, the skies opened up to start a three-hour, 19-minute rain delay.

Once the teams got back on the field, freshman left-hander Kirby Snead took the mound sporting the best ERA on the Florida roster. He induced a pop up to second base for the first out, but it got ugly after that.

Alex Raburn singled to left field to get the Tar Heels on the board, followed by a two-run double by Tyler Ramirez to make it 3-0. Adam Pate's double drove in another run, and nine-hole hitter Korey Dunbar capped off the scoring with an RBI single, giving North Carolina a 5-0 lead after three innings.

"He has been throwing the ball good, and we felt good during the rain delay," O'Sullivan said. "We knew if we gave up a run or two, we'd still have to win. The damage was done early."


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