Gators again stumble on the SEC road

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Florida's Kendrick Calilao, left, scores as Mississippi catcher Cooper Johnson takes the throw Saturday in Oxford, Miss. (Bruce Newman/The Oxford Eagle via AP)

OXFORD, Miss. — Florida’s SEC baseball woes on the road got uglier Saturday against No. 18 Ole Miss.

The Rebels (23-10, 8-4 SEC) won the series with a 16-4 win in the first game of the doubleheader. No. 21 Florida (21-13, 4-8) took an 8-0 lead in Game 2, but couldn’t hold it in a 12-10 loss that gave Ole Miss the series sweep. Due to inclement weather in the forecast for Sunday, the teams finished up the series with the doubleheader Saturday.

Florida is 0-6 in league road series and were outscored 40-18 in this one. The Gators lost Friday’s opener 12-4. Last month, UF was outscored 34-6 in the series sweep by Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn.

The Gators returned home after the debacle at Vandy to win five consecutive games, four of them at McKethan Stadium, with the other one a 4-2 win over FSU in Jacksonville. The Gators look to rebound against FSU again, with the last game of the Sunshine series starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Tallahassee.

“It was a little bit of everything,” UF coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We didn’t pitch very well all weekend, particularly to the middle of the order. We fell behind an awful lot and they were in a lot of hitters counts. We gave ourselves a chance in the second game today, had an eight-run lead, but obviously weren’t able to hold on to it. Made a couple errors, balked three times in that game. It’s just one of those games, if we do a couple more things and shut it down in the middle innings there.”

In game one of the doubleheader, Ole Miss racked up 20 hits and beat the Gators. Tyler Dyson went 3.2 innings and allowed five unearned runs. The bullpen allowed 16 hits and 11 runs.

UF had 14 hits but was limited to one run through the first seven innings. Cory Acton, Kris Armstrong and Nelson Maldonado each had a pair of hits in the game while Austin Langworthy had two RBI.

Florida built an 8-0 lead in the second game but Ole Miss rallied. The Gators used a two-out rally in the third inning to put up four runs. Two came in to score on a hard hit ball by Kendrick Calilao that could not be handled by the third baseman. A two-run single from Jud Fabian made it 4-0.

Florida’s momentum continued in the fourth as the Gators loaded the bases with one out. Calilao drew a walk and Austin Langworthy’s sac fly to center added a second run. Wil Dalton’s two-run double made it 8-0.

Ole Miss used an eight-run fifth inning to jumpstart the comeback and take a 10-8 lead.

The Gators battled to tie the game in the top of the sixth, but the Rebels added a run in the sixth and another in the seventh to win 12-10.

“The bottom line is it was the big innings that got us, and the rebound runs,” O’Sullivan said. “I think we’re up to 25 innings now where we’ve scored and turned around and gave up runs. Sometimes you’ve just got to credit the other team.

“Been around here a long time and this had been one of the more difficult weekends that we’ve had. We’ve got to learn how to play on the road in the SEC. It takes a different mentality and it takes some leadership, when things kind of go sideways, to be able to make some pitches, make a play, or come up with a big at bat here or there.”

4 COMMENTS

  1. In my 40+ years of following Gator baseball, I don’t recall ever seeing a Gator baseball team just get destroyed like they have in both the Vandy and now Ole Miss series. Not just losing, but getting embarrassed like this. This is a team only 2 seasons removed from winning their first CWS, and went into the CWS last season as the top seed. As Slim Pickens said in the classic film “Blazing Saddles”, “what in the sam hill is going on here?” I’l bet SprignHillPhil is not the only one baffled.

  2. An embarrassing weekend. Worst Gator Baseball weekend I’ve witnessed since well before Sully got here.

    Although the head coach is ultimately responsible, I don’t blame Sully anywhere as much as I blame the complete lack of effort, energy, and focus by the players, especially the starting pitching staff.

    These pitchers aren’t raw anymore. They played last year and they’re starters this year and they absolutely brought no intensity, no focus, nothing to these games. They need to get their heads on straight, find some solid footing, and get their **** together imo. You just don’t fall apart like these pitchers did.

    We’re already halfway through this season and have won only ONE SEC series. That, and Sully also needs to make sure he recruits heavy on pitching this year, because I have a feeling we aren’t as talented at starting pitcher as we thought.