Baseball swept by Miami
Published: Sunday, March 1, 2009 at 11:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, March 1, 2009 at 11:44 p.m.
After faltering Friday and Saturday, the Florida Gators were hoping to craft a Salvage Sunday at the ballpark.
They turned it into Sloppy Sunday, instead.
The Gators culminated a lost weekend against arch-rival Miami by making a real mess of things in a 16-2 loss to the Hurricanes on Sunday before 3,038 at blustery McKethan Stadium.
“I really didn’t see this one coming,” said UF coach Kevin O’Sullivan, whose team had been so sound through a 5-0 start heading into the weekend. “I thought we’d come out and play well. I’m not sure I remember a game like this one in quite some time.
“No excuses, we didn’t play well, we didn’t compete. It was a disappointing day, a disappointing weekend, to be honest with you.”
UF’s salvage project disintegrated in a hurry, with a seven-run fourth inning by UM (6-1) that was prodded along by three walks, a hit batter and a critical two-out error.
The Gators had a chance to get out of the inning down only 3-0. But four more runs scored after first baseman Brandon McArthur and second baseman Jerico Weitzel misplayed a wind-blown pop-up that Weitzel dropped when the two collided with two outs.
“I was under it and he called me off late,” McArthur said. “I tried to get out of the way, and he wasn’t able to handle it.”
UF pitching was a disaster. Five pitchers combined to give up 20 hits and eight walks — and they also hit four batters and threw six wild pitches.
After pitching three shutout innings, UF starter Nick Maronde’s day started turning sour when UM first baseman Harold Martinez led off the fourth inning with a home run. That blow — a line drive over the left field fence — triggered the avalanche. By the time the inning was over, the ‘Canes had sent 12 batters to the plate and pretty much ended the drama for the afternoon.
“That’s what you get when you work from behind (in the count),” Maronde said. “We’ve got to forget it and move on from this one.”
UM added a run in the fifth, four in the sixth, one in the seventh and three in the eighth, as the Hurricanes took batting practice against the ineffective UF bullpen.
“When the wheels fell of in the fourth inning, they seemed to fall off for everybody,” O’Sullivan said. “When you fall behind 7-0 after four innings, the wind was sucked right out of them. That’s when we have to have some leaders step up and the bullpen keep us right in there. We just didn’t get anything out of the bullpen today.”
The light-hitting Gators had no chance of keeping up. The Gators had only four hits - all singles - and scored both their runs in the sixth with the help of three walks and a hit batter.
It was a somber way to end a big weekend that began with such high expectations for the Gators (5-3).
“We just got out-competed,” McArthur said. “They challenged us and we got out-competed. They played nine innings; we didn’t. Once they jumped out in the lead, we just kind of folded over and didn’t compete for the whole nine innings. You have to find a way. It’s adversity.”
Notes: Sunday’s attendance pushed the series total to 12,322, the third-highest for a three-game series at McKethan Stadium. ...The Gators will play at (2-5) Stetson starting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Contact Robbie Andreu at 374-5022 or at email@example.com.
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