Florida loses NCAA opener to Austin Peay


Florida players and staff sit in the dugout as they wait out a rain delay against Austin Peay at the NCAA regional college baseball tournament, on Friday in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

Published: Friday, May 31, 2013 at 5:23 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, May 31, 2013 at 5:23 p.m.

Facts

Saturday

Florida vs. Valparaiso at 2 p.m.
Radio: 103.7 FM

Able to pitch out of jams all afternoon, the Florida baseball team's pitching staff finally cracked. It came at the worst possible time. Austin Peay designated hitter Michael Davis hit the go-ahead three-run homer to left in the bottom of the eighth to propel the No. 2-seeded Governors to a 4-3 win over Florida in game one of the Bloomington Regional at Bart Kaufman Field. Davis' moon-beam shot off Ryan Harris just cleared the fence and appeared to be aided by the wind. More remarkably, it came after he had struck out three times against Gators' starter Jonathon Crawford. “Well as soon as it went up, the only chance was that it was too high,” Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. “He struck it good. I had a feeling it was gonna go.”


Governors coach Gary McClure said Davis had a hard time picking up Crawford's cutter, but decided to leave him in when righty Ryan Harris came in to start the bottom of the eighth. “I had a feeling Mike was going to hit one out and I guess he didn't let us down,” McClure said. “He's a really strong kid… certainly glad I kept him in there.” Davis' heroics spoiled that of sophomore right fielder hitter Justin Shafer, who hit a go-ahead three-run shot to left in the top of the sixth that cleared the bullpen and for that matter, the stadium. Shafer's blast gave third-seeded Florida its first and only lead of the game at 3-1, and with the way Crawford was pitching, it looked like it would stick. Instead, the Gators (29-29) face elimination Saturday and will play Valparaiso at 2 p.m. “We still got games left,” Shafer said. “We have a great pitching staff so we believe that we can come back and win the next four games.” Harris (5-4) allowed a bloop single to Craig Massoni led off the bottom of the eighth with a bloop single to right beyond the mitt of diving second baseman Casey Turgeon. Reed Harper followed with a single that kicked off Harris' foot. “The problem was he got behind 2-1 to Davis and left the ball out over home plate. I don't think he threw that poor.” Shafer's home run off reliever Lee Ridenhour gave him his first RBI in nine games, and came after Governors starter Zach Hall issued back-to-back walks with one out. It was the only offense for the Gators, who haven't scored more than four runs since May 11 vs. Auburn, six games ago. Florida left three men on base and managed just one hit over the final three innings. “Well, we haven't swung the bats well for quite some time,” O'Sullivan said. “We've kinda gone in to every game with it being a low-scoring affair.” Crawford allowed just one run over 6.1 innings pitched on four hits. He worked out of jams in the first, fourth and fifth. Kacy Kemmer (6-0) worked the eighth inning for Austin Peay (46-13), allowing just one hit. Division I saves leader Tyler Rogers pitched a scoreless ninth and collected his 22nd save.

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