Hurricanes push Gators to third consecutive loss

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Florida's Nelson Maldonado hits an RBI groundout in the fourth inning Friday to score Austin Langworthy against Miami at McKethan Stadium. [Cyndi Chambers/Correspondent]

A bad week got worse for the Florida baseball team, as the Gators lost their third straight game and a lack of offense was again the culprit.

“This week has been tough,” said starting pitcher Tyler Dyson. “It’s been brutal. But we’ll figure it out.”

Miami used a pair of homers and 11 strikeouts to beat UF 5-2, as a crowd of 4,775 watched at McKethan Stadium.

Florida (3-3) has scored only four runs in its last three games, all losses. The No. 5 Gators are batting below the Mendoza Line, hitting a timid .195  for the season after a five-hit night Friday.

“Three losses and in every game we’re coming from behind,” said Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan. “The offense has to get going. We’re trying to do everything we can.”

On Friday night, Florida could manage only five baserunners against starter Evan McKendrey (2-0), who lasted seven innings with nine strikeouts. Florida struggled to get base runners all night, leaving only five runners on base and looking like a team that is pressing early.

“It certainly seems like that,” O’Sullivan said. “We’re only six games in. I didn’t see this coming. I don’t know why the pressing would start this early.”

Brady McConnell and Kendrick Calilao each had two hits for the Gators.

“You just gotta keep on playing. We just have to keep on hitting,” Calilao said. “It’s part of the game. We have to step it up and start hitting as a team.”

Florida struck out 35  times in three games this week.

“We took a lot of good fastballs for strikes,” O’Sullivan said. “He has a good change-up, but you can’t get caught in between.”

Miami took the lead with a two-run homer by sophomore Alex Toral, who ripped a fastball from Dyson over the right field fence on a line to make it 2-0.

Toral has five homers on the young season for Miami (5-0). The rest of his team has one. Florida’s team has one.

Florida got a run back in the fourth when McConnell led off with a double and Calilao blasted a triple that ducked over the head of rightfielder Luis Tuero.

Dyson went four-plus innings, leaving with nobody out in the fifth after a walk and an error to open the inning and 91 pitches. He allowed six hits.

“They were fouling off pitches,” Dyson said. “I thought I threw a lot of strikes, but they were able to run the pitch count high.

“It was frustrating to lose, especially to those guys and on our home field.”

The Gators tied the game in the sixth when Austin Langworthy got only his third hit of the year, a sharp single, and McConnell drilled his second double of the game. Nelson Maldonado’s RBI grounder made it 2-2.

But Miami came right back against Jordan Butler and Hunter Ruth. Michael Amditis slammed his first home run of his career, a shot to left-center, to give Miami the lead. A bunt single by Freddy Zamora with two out scored another run later in the inning.

The Hurricanes added a run in the eighth on a two-out single by Tony Jenkins after Florida allowed Amditis to reach on a misplayed infield pop out.

Miami needs only to split with UF in the next two games to take the Hurricanes’ first series against Florida in five years. The Gators will send Tommy Mace (1-0) to the hill Saturday at 6:30 p.m. against Chris McMahon (1-0).


Saturday

Who: Miami (5-0) vs. No. 5 Florida (3-3)

When: 6:30 p.m. Also 1 p.m. Sunday

Where: McKethan Stadium

Radio: AM-850, 98.1-FM

Online: SEC Network+

4 COMMENTS

  1. We usually don’t see the vanishing bats until 8 or 9 games into the season, but once again, for the umpteenth year in a row, Sully has refused to hire a batting coach or specialist to address a problem we’ve had at the plate for years.

    And, add to that a very young Gator squad needing lots of playing time and experience? It only compounds the problem.

    Gonna be a “learning” year for the Gators this season, so just sit back and cheer on the Gators and don’t expect a whole lot. Maybe they’ll surprise us anyway.