Gators fall in SEC Tournament opener
Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 8:12 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 8:12 p.m.
HOOVER, Ala. — In need of a win to improve their resume for the NCAA Tournament baseball committee, the Florida Gators instead continued their end of the season slide Tuesday.
Texas A&M defeated eighth seed Florida 6-3 in the first day of the SEC Tournament. It was the Gators' ninth loss in their last 11 league games. They are 4-8 this month, with two of the wins coming against overmatched Florida A&M and Florida Atlantic.
The Gators (29-28) now await the NCAA Baseball Championship Selection Show set for noon Monday on ESPNU to see if they'll be invited to the tournament.
“We're going to practice as if we're expecting to get in," UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "You can't turn on and turn off momentum. We aren't going to just sit in the dorms. We plan to have our offense going and hopefully the committee will consider us.”
Texas A&M improved to 31-25 and will play top-seeded Vanderbilt (48-7) on Wednesday in the double-elimination portion of the tournament.
Daniel Mengden tossed a complete-game five-hitter with 11 strikeouts to lead ninth-seeded Texas A&M at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. He struck out seven of the final eight Gator hitters in going the distance. Hunter Melton led the Aggies at the plate, going 2-for-4 with four RBIs.
Pitcher Johnny Magliozzi (4-2) got the loss for UF after working 6.2 innings.
"The difference in the ball game was that their starter got stronger as the game went on," O'Sullivan said. "We pitched well enough, but we weren't able to do enough offensively.”
Florida scored a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the second to take an early 2-0 lead. Justin Shafer began the inning by reaching on an error, advanced to second on a balk and moved to third on a throwing error. He scored on Vickash Ramjit's groundout. Zack Powers followed with a single and later scored.
Melton belted a three-run home run in the fourth inning to give the Aggies a 3-2 lead.
Florida tied it at 3-all in the bottom of the fifth when Josh Tobias singled and later scored on a wild pitch.
The Aggies scored two runs in the sixth for a 5-3 lead and settled the final margin with a run in the ninth.
Florida was eliminated from the tournament as part of a new 12-team format that features a single-elimination opening day.
In other games Tuesday, Alabama beat Auburn 6-3 and Ole Miss eliminated Kentucky, 4-1.