Coaches make cases to continue, stop game


Published: Sunday, June 10, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 11, 2012 at 12:06 a.m.

The scene was almost comical. As the grounds crew worked feverishly to get the field ready for Sunday's Gainesville Super Regional game between Florida and North Carolina State, both coaches took turns making their cases to the NCAA representatives walking around the outfield.

On the one hand, North Carolina State coach Elliott Avent was gesturing at the small ponds that were being dried with leaf blowers. On the other hand, Kevin O'Sullivan was getting steamed on a steamy day because he wanted to play.

The coaches had their reasons. Avent wanted to bring back ace Carlos Rodon after letting him rest a day or even two. He suggested a doubleheader be played Tuesday because more rain was expected today.

O'Sullivan wanted to bring back starter Jonathon Crawford and wanted to get the game started quickly.

In the end, there was a delay of two hours, 23 minutes, the third delay of the weekend series, before play resumed.

“I had concerns with the weather all weekend,” Avent said. “I'll leave it at that. I got my input, but when a decision is made I think you have to live with it.

“People were working really hard on that field for two hours and there was still a ton of water on the field. Sometimes you can't fight Mother Nature.”

Avent was also lobbying to delay the restart as long as possible because of the heat. It affected his team all weekend with the games starting at 2 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively, and he lost second baseman Matt Bergquist to cramps in the 10th inning Sunday.

“You have a Florida regional with games starting at two and one and you're asking for these kinds of things to happen,” he said.

O'Sullivan just wanted to play, especially with the sun beating down on the field and the potential for more bad weather on its way later in the evening.

“It was a difficult couple of days,” he said. “Our field crew did a great job. Both coaches didn't want to lose their starters. But I thought the field was fine.”

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