Gators Eliminated from NCAA Baseball Tournament
Florida knocked out of NCAA Regionals by South Alabama for second time
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Florida baseball began the 2021 season as the unanimous no. 1 team in the nation, but ended it by getting blown out and eliminated, at home, by South Alabama in the opening round of the NCAA Baseball Tournament.
The no. 15 seeded Gators (38-21) entered Saturday’s elimination game desperate to win, and continue their postseason push for a national championship. After dropping their opening game to South Florida, the orange and blue knew they couldn’t let another game go to waste or their season would be over.
Facing unseeded South Alabama (33-21), who also lost their opening matchup, neither team could afford to give an inch in a win-or-go-home scenario.
In the top of the 1st, Jud Fabian flied out to shallow left field and Jacob Young tried to tag-up and score from third, but was thrown out to complete the double play and end the Gators attack.
In the bottom of the frame, the Jaguars scored two runs off a pair of singles to jump out in front 2-0. Quickly falling behind forced Florida Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s hand, and he pulled starter Hunter Barco after giving up the two runs and only recording one out.
Jack Leftwich entered the game and escaped the inning without issue, but the damage was done and the Gators never recovered.
Florida would score its only run of the game in the top of the 3rd off a SAC fly by Mac Guscette. He plated Josh Rivera to cut the contest to a one-run game.
The Jaguars would add to their lead with a 2-run double in the bottom of the 5th, before exploding for 10 runs on 10 hits in the bottom of the 6th. The offensive barrage swelled the score to 14-1. The last time Florida surrendered 10 or more runs in an inning was back in 2006 against South Carolina.
In the bottom of the 7th, the Gators pitching staff allowed another five runs to come across, in the form of two solo home runs and a 3-run blast.
In total, South Alabama scored 15 runs in three innings to take a commanding 19-1
The game was stopped in the bottom of the 7th due to a weather delay, but resumed after an hour-and-a-half where it finished out without any change.
It’s the 14th time since 1999 a seeded team has been knocked out of the NCAA Tournament in the Regional round. This is also the second time Florida was eliminated in Regionals by South Alabama. The first time was in 1984.
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