Gators fall to Vols in finale
Published: Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 4:22 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 4:22 p.m.
The momentum of a nine-game home winning streak came to a screeching halt Sunday when Florida could manage only four hits over the final eight innings in a 4-2 loss to Tennessee at McKethan Stadium.
LSU at Florida, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
The Vols, 18-23 and 6-15 in the SEC, salvaged the final game of the series by rallying from an early 2-0 hole.
The win was Tennessee's first in Gainesville in six years. Florida is now 25-20, 12-9 in the league.
Zack Godley pitched a complete game for Tennessee in improving his record to 4-5.
“It was really weird,” said Florida freshman Richie Martin. “We got the two runs in the first and their pitcher threw a great game and shut us out for eight in a row.”
Florida started the game fast. Justin Shafer's first triple of the year scored Casey Turgeon from first base and Vickash Ramjit singled Shafer home.
But that was all the scoring Florida could manage off Godley, who threw 111 pitches. He allowed only one hit over the last five innings.
“He's their No. 1 guy,” said Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan of Godley. “He's been doing it all season. He deserves the credit. He's older, he's a senior. He has a lot of innings under his belt.”
Florida batters were eager to go after fastballs early in the count against Godley to avoid his off-speed pitches. But the result was eight fly balls of the last 19 outs of the game.
“Two things hurt us offensively that were disappointing,” O'Sullivan said. “We were swinging early in the count and we were getting soft contact. And we didn't make adjustments well. He pitched us the same way for the most part.”
Meanwhile, Florida starter Bobby Poyner pitched well for five innings. He allowed a solo homer to Ethan Bennett in the second, but faced the minimum otherwise until the sixth.
But in the sixth, Zach Luther doubled and Derek Lance followed him with another double past a drawn-in Vickash Ramjit at first. It was Lance's first hit of the season. A ground out scored what turned out to be the winning run.
“It was tough but we were playing for the bunt,” Poyner said of Lance's hit.
Tennessee added another run in the seventh. Two singles and a sacrifice bunt off UF reliever Eric Hanhold put runners on second and third. Daniel Gibson came in to record a strikeout and was lifted for Ryan Harris. Harris' first pitch glanced off the top of catcher Taylor Gushue's glove and rolled to the backstop allowing pinch-runner Heath Loyd to score from third.
Gushue, who had been red-hot coming into the game with three doubles and a homer in the series, was held hitless and struck out twice.
Florida next plays at LSU in a three-game series starting Thursday. Even with the loss, Florida won its third straight SEC series with wins Friday and Saturday.
“It's always great to win a series,” said Martin, who had two hits Sunday. “But we wanted a sweep.”