Gators Get Over-Bauered

The Florida Gators face a tough pitcher and come up way short on an error filled game to lose their first game in the 2010 College World Series 11-3 to UCLA. Florida had one of their worst defensive performances of the entire season while facing a stellar pitcher from the Bruins. Florida will now have to face Florida State in the first of maybe several elimination games.

The Florida Gator baseball team has made its name all year on defense both on the mound and in the field. It was on the mound that betrayed them in their first game of the College World Series and a big loss to UCLA. The Gators tallied four wild pitches, a passed ball, four batters hit by pitch, and an error in giving their worst defensive performance of the year.

The pitching miscues allowed UCLA to tack on runs in several different innings and the Florida pitchers made their lives difficult by letting the lead off batters in most innings on base. Florida allowed the first two batters on base in five of the first seven innings.

Things looked different to begin the game even though UCLA did score in the first inning. Florida came back with a two run single by Brian Johnson in the bottom of the first inning. After a scoreless second inning, UCLA got untracked for three in the third and then scored in every inning left to finish the game.

The Bruins did tally 18 hits, but the above mentioned errors allowed UCLA to continue to put runners on base and in scoring position. The pitching made it tough on catcher Mike Zunino.

"They were breaking balls and a few change ups," Florida Head Coach Kevin O'Sullivan told the media following the game explaining that the pitches were tough to handle. "I thought Mike did a nice job behind the plate, but when you start throwing that many balls in the dirt, some are going to get away from him. I thought he did a great job, we just have to do a better job of locating pitches."

To accentuate the bad night for Florida, UCLA pitcher Trevor Bauer threw six complete innings, giving up three runs, striking out 11 batters and only walking two. Bauer was the story of the game even though his teammates bats and base running put several runs on the board allowing him to rare back and throw the ball how he wanted to.

Gator second baseman Josh Adams wouldn't deny the quirky pitcher who was a bit eccentric in and around the dugout when his own team was at bat.

"He threw every pitch in the strike zone, he did a great job," Adams said of Bauer. "His curve ball was sharp, change up looked pretty good, he just had a great night."

O'Sullivan knows his half of the CWS bracket has a tough pull with UCLA who has good pitching all around.

"I think they have three starters they can go to and any one of them will have positive results," O'Sullivan said.

One thing that will be lost on the night was a remarkable catch by Gator center fielder Matt den Dekker. The senior, who returned to Florida bypassing the major leagues in order to play in the College World Series, made a Willie Mays style catch near the wall in deep center field. From a full sprint, den Dekker ran down the ball and just feet away from the wall, dove to his knees with his glove and hand out and cradled the ball in his glove as it appeared over his shoulder. Probably the best defensive center fielder in Gator history, O'Sullivan thought the catch was one of a kind.

"That is probably the greatest catch I've ever seen," The Gator skipper said.

The Gators now are in the loser's bracket and will play Florida State in an elimination game. The Seminoles lost earlier in the day to TCU and the loser will head home and out of the tournament. Florida State holds the series lead with Florida this year 3-1. The game will be Monday at 4:30 pm EST, allowing both teams a day off before they start playing every day. Adams knows what they have to do.

"We have to be ready to play and put this behind us," he said.

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