Livin' on the Edge

They just don't make it easy, do they? The Gator baseball team went into South Carolina this weekend with the chance to put a stranglehold on a spot in the SEC Tournament, and with that a very strong spot for NCAA Tournament consideration as well.

However after winning the series opener, the Gators dropped two to the Gamecocks putting themselves under quite a bit of pressure with two weeks to go in the regular season.

The Gators were in pretty good position in this one. After trailing 3-0, the Gators rallied to take a 5-3 lead midway through the contest. However Florida's most reliable starter Patrick Keating (8-0, 2.69 entering the game) couldn't get through the fifth and last year's top pitcher, Kyle Mullaney (now 0-4, 6.75) wasn't any better and the Gators ended up on the short end of a 9-6 score.

The two losses leave Kevin O'Sullivan's team with a 13-11 SEC record and in the middle of a jumbled pack of teams fighting for a spot in Birmingham. Right now you gotta figure Georgia (17-6-1) and Vanderbilt (14-9) are very likely to be part of the eight team field, but after that it's a mess. You have three teams with 11 losses (Florida, South Carolina 13-11 and LSU 12-11-1), two teams with 12 losses (Alabama, Ole Miss 12-12) and three more with 13 losses (Tennessee, Kentucky 11-13, and Arkansas 10-13). Two of those eight teams will be left home when the SEC Tournament gets underway. And that number could grow to three if Auburn (10-14) can manage to win its final two series of the season.

The Gators' situation is further endangered because they have lost so many key series. Florida would lose a tie-breaker to Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky or Arkansas. Just one more win in any of those four series and the Gators would be in much better position. Instead they will head into the final two weeks of the season knowing that they are playing for their post-season lives.

One good thing for SEC baseball fans; every SEC series the final two weeks will have post-season implications for one or both of the teams.

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel


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