Gator Baseball Falls to UNC, Season Comes to an End
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Third-seeded North Carolina used a five-run third inning to eliminate top-seeded Florida from the NCAA Gainesville Regional, 5-2, at McKethan Stadium on Saturday.
The Tar Heels (35-26) advance to face the loser of tonight’s winner’s bracket game between second-seeded Long Beach State (33-24) and fourth-seeded College of Charleston (42-17) tomorrow at 1 p.m.The Gators’ season ends with a record of 40-23.
Following a three-hour, 19-minute weather delay in the third inning, North Carolina erupted for five runs. Sophomore Landon Lassiter had led off with a single up the middle and sophomore Skye Bolt had reached on an error before the game was interrupted. Freshman Kirby Snead replaced junior Bobby Poyner (5-4) out of the break and retired freshman Wood Myers on an infield fly. Sophomore Alex Raburn followed with an RBI single to bring in Lassiter and a wild pitch gave the Tar Heels two runners in scoring position. Back-to-back RBI doubles by freshman Tyler Ramirez and freshman Adam Pate (2-for-4) resulted in a 4-0 score and sophomore Korey Dunbar added a run-scoring single for a five-run margin.
The Gators used a two-out RBI single by junior Zack Powers with the bases loaded in the seventh to get on the board. UF had filled the sacks with one down on a walk to junior Casey Turgeon (2-for-4) and consecutive singles by sophomores Richie Martin and Harrison Bader. After sophomore Reilly Hovis (9-1) came through with a strikeout, Powers plated Turgeon with a base-hit into center field but Martin was out at the plate to end the frame. Turgeon brought Florida within 5-2 in the eighth with a two-out RBI single that plated freshman Buddy Reed.
Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan
“I congratulate North Carolina. I thought their pitchers did a really good job today. They were really sharp and kept us off-balance for most of the day. Obviously, it’s very disappointing when your season comes to an end, but, like I told the players in the dugout, this team accomplished an awful lot. We won the regular-season SEC Championship and played really well in the SEC Tournament. Baseball sometimes is a funny thing. The ball sometimes bounces your way and sometimes it doesn’t. For whatever reason, we did not play our best two games here at the end but I don’t want to take anything away from the College of Charleston or North Carolina. They both played really well. But, obviously we did not play up to our capabilities the last two games. There’s a lot to be proud of. I’m pleased to have had these guys as our team this year, they worked really hard. I don’t want these last two games to be a reflection of what they’ve accomplished this year.”
On the shock of going 0-2 this weekend:
“To be honest with you, I didn’t see it coming. I felt very good going into the weekend. It was a weird weekend all together. Logan Shore hasn’t been hit like that the whole year. They just came out and were ready, they squared some balls up and they just kind of put us back on our heels and I don’t think we were ready for that. We have relied on him so much this year and he’s been so good but then I thought settled in and then today, you know, North Carolina did the same thing to Kirby Snead. He’s been throwing the ball really well and we felt good during the rain delay that we were going to start him. We had a 1-2 count to Myers and they were getting towards the bottom half of the order and we felt good about that. We talked about if we gave up a run or two that we were still going to have to score if we wanted to win. I felt good about it. He had thrown about 10 or 11 pitches and the damage was done already. So, credit North Carolina. It was just a really weird weekend. We have come accustomed to coming up with those two-out RBIs and those clutch two-strike hits when we need them. We’ve done that a majority of the year and, for whatever reason, the last couple of days we just weren’t able to do that and that’s just baseball.”
#2 Casey Turgeon
On the upset as the No. 1 seed:
“It’s definitely a shock but we didn’t play our best game these last two days so credit to the two teams that we played this weekend. They came with their ‘A’ game and we didn’t.”
On if the weather threw the team off:
“You know, it’s just Florida. I’m from Florida, a lot of these guys are from Florida and that’s how it is in the summer time. It rains and you just have to be ready for it.”
#11 Josh Tobias
On stranding a significant amount of runners this weekend:
“I mean, it’s tough not getting runners in when you need them, but its hindsight now and we just have to get better from it.”
· After being delayed for three hours and 10 minutes last night, Florida endured a three-hour, 19-minute delay this afternoon.
· Today was the first meeting between the Gators and Tar Heels since the 2005 NCAA Gainesville Regional, a 5-2 UF win.
· UF finished 23-13 at McKethan Stadium this year.
· Josh Tobias (2-for-4) opened the third with his fourth double of the season and Florida loaded the bases but was unable to score.
· Dane Dunning threw three scoreless innings with four strikeouts and A.J. Puk followed by retiring all six batters he faced.
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