The Gators didn't maintain momentum because they didn't get good pitching, and as a result they are the first team heading back from Hoover, Alabama.
Florida's 11-3 loss to South Carolina Thursday on the heels of a 7-3 to Vanderbilt leaves the Gators 34-22 on the year. While a great weekend might have put Florida in a position to host an NCAA Regional next weekend that hope is certainly out the window.
Billy Bullock got the call on the mound for coach Kevin O'Sullivan, but the sophomore righty couldn't get out of the second inning. Florida rallied to make it 5-3 in the top of the fifth inning and trailed just 6-3 into the eighth before five unearned runs put the game out of reach.
The lone bright spot on the mound was a strong four inning relief effort from freshman Tommy Toledo who allowed just one run and one hit. The run was aided by an error and probably should have been unearned. And while the eighth inning runs were all unearned it didn't help the Gators' NCAA mind set to have reliever Josh Edmonson serve up a game clinching three run homer.
Offensively, the Gators didn't do much in Alabama. Matt den Dekker and Cole Figueroa each had three hits, but the rest of the team combined for just four more as the Gators left eight men on base.
NCAA Bid Still Secure
Unlike last year when two-and-out in the SEC Tournament killed the Gators' NCAA hopes, this team should certainly be playing next week. Florida entered the week ranked No. 13 in the NCAA RPI rankings. Losses to No. 18 South Carolina and No. 33 Vanderbilt won't hurt all that much. Florida ends the season having played 23 games against teams that were nationally ranked at game time and the Gators won 11 of those games.
Look for Florida to be the No. 2 seed at either Miami or Florida State. Both teams are ranked in the top five and should host a No. 2 seed that is ranked in the high 20's which is exactly where Florida belongs.
Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel
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