Gators suffer first loss of season at Miami, 2-0

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Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan. (AP Photo/Matt Stamey, File)

By Walter Villa, Correspondent

CORAL GABLES — Cue Meatloaf.

People of a certain age will remember that the aforementioned burly singer once belted out his classic, “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” and that message is what the top-ranked Florida Gators baseball team takes away from this weekend.

On Sunday, the host Miami Hurricanes blanked the Gators 2-0, but Florida still won two out of three games in the series.

The Gators (7-1) had won 10 consecutive games dating to last year’s national championship run. And, even after Sunday’s loss, they have won 10 out of their past 12 games against Miami (3-4).

Even so, the Gators wanted more.

“Yeah, I guess you could say that,” Gators shortstop Jonathan India said when asked about taking the series. “We’re still disappointed, but, hey, we’ll take it. We wanted the sweep.”

The sweep didn’t come mainly because Gators’ batters struck out 13 times and managed just three hits. The only extra-base hit was India’s double, which should’ve been an out. India popped up, but the ball fell near the pitcher’s mound.

Austin Langworthy and Keenan Bell had Florida’s other hits Sunday, and the Gators drew five walks.

Gators starter Tyler Dyson (1-1) deserved a better fate after allowing just four hits, no walks and one run in six innings. He struck out eight, but got beat in the fifth when he allowed consecutive, two-out doubles to left by nine-hole hitter Willy Escala and leadoff man Michael Burns.

“They found a hole,” Dyson said. “They didn’t necessarily hit it hard, but they were placed perfectly. … I could’ve missed a couple of inches lower.”

The ‘Canes extended their lead to 2-0 in the seventh, getting to reliever Andrew Baker, a sophomore left-hander. Just like in the fifth, Miami started its rally with two outs and none on, as Miami’s Freddy Zamora singled to center and advanced on a walk.

Florida brought in another reliever, freshman Hunter McMullen, who got ahead on Burns 0-2. But Burns, who chokes up slightly, battled back to a 3-2 count before hitting an opposite-field, end-of-his bat ground-ball single past first baseman Bell, who dove to his right.

Miami starter Evan McKendry (1-1) got the win by allowing just two hits and two walks, striking out eight in six innings.

Andrew Cabezas earned his second save of the season by pitching three innings, allowing just one hit and striking out five. But Cabezas walked the bases loaded with two outs in the seventh, escaping when Langworthy flew out to medium center on a 1-0 pitch.

Cabezas needed 30 pitches to finish the seventh and threw 64 pitches in his three innings. But he finished strong.

After Bell’s leadoff single in the ninth, Cabezas struck out the side, getting Blake Reese (swinging), Nick Horvath (swinging) and Brady McConnell (looking).

“You always as a coach go positive,” Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “You feel like you will get back in the game. But credit McKendry, and (Cabezas) made pitches when he needed.”

 

Up next

Who: No. 1 Florida (7-1) at North Florida (3-4)

When: 6 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Harmon Stadium at Dusty Rhodes Field, Jacksonville

Radio: AM-850, 98.1-FM

10 COMMENTS

  1. Hoping this isn’t going to be the beginning of the typical precedent we’ve seen from our offense the last few years…. Start off the season with hot bats and then about 8 or 10 games in, they go Jeckell & Hyde the rest of the season.

    Even after we won it all last season I was adamant that Sully needed to find a seeioualy good batting coach. Once again, he didn’t.

    Keeping my fingers crossed we aren’t going to watch sluggish offense thebrst of the way, because we sisnt even score a run today against a very bad Miami team.

    • To hire a “good hitting coach”, Sully would have to fire someone on his National Championship staff. Whom would you have him fire? Sometimes you have to give the other team a little credit too. They have coaches and players trying hard too
      Go Gators!

    • Jeez, how negative can someone be? We’re 7-1. If this was a Super Regional, we’d have swept. The pitching staff was positively dominant, allowing 6 earned runs in 17 innings of work, and the relief staff was even better, allowing 1 earned run in 8 innings. In college baseball, you run into a pitcher once in a while who just has his best stuff. It’s why you can always recover in every post-season tourney, from losing 1 game. Miami was more fired up than we were, because improving to 7-28 in their last 35 games vs UF is probably going to be the highlight of their season. If we had won the other 2 games with weak hitting, 3-2 type wins, then maybe I’d be concerned. But the Gators put good wood on 2 good pitchers to start the series, and again, just ran into a tough spot in the 3rd game. Certainly not time to even dream about firing the hitting coach.

      • Cody, before reading a lot of stuff into my post that I didn’t intend, I am extremely positive and excited about this season. I think we have a very good chance to repeat.

        Been following Gator baseball since the mid 70’s btw. So lighten up a little, ok?

        My point addresses an issue that has become somewhat a frustrating part of this team’s psyche the last few years and I can’t help but get a little nervous when we do what I’ve watched us do the past few seasons, and that is start off hot at the plate early-on and then become Jeckell & Hyde at the plate the rest of the season.

        Wasn;t happy to watch us not even get a run across the plate yesterday, and JJ had a horrid day at the plate too. Not to mention way too many left on base. It’s a pet peave of mine more than anything I suppose. That said, this was a very below average Miami team and in all honesty, we should have spanked them yesterday, but not even a single run?

        It’s a valid concern too. I never said that’s what definitely happened yesterday , but it does cause me a little concern. Been saying we need to find a top-tier batting specialist for this team for the last few years now. Still think it would be a great thing to do.

        Not going to change that opinion either.

        • I just think it’s nuts to isolate one game and find a ton of red flags. Sure, I’m unhappy too about one game. But JJ Schwarz had a great weekend and has had a great season. So 1-2 pitchers who had their best stuff shut him down a few times, along w/ the rest of the Gators. Leaving runners on base too is far better than not getting the runners on in the first place. I think it’s a little dramatic to call Miami “very below average.” Miami is never “very below average.” They’re the #24 team in the nation playing in their park in a rivalry game, and they’re coming off a season in which they should’ve been in a regional, yet the NCAA picked UCLA so they wouldn’t have to pay for Miami’s travel. You don’t score runs off a team, you score runs off a pitcher, and like I’ve mentioned, sometimes you just run into a pitcher who has his stuff. Now, if shutdown games like this start happening regularly, then we’ll talk. But let’s not overreact to 1 single game and start calling for the hitting coach’s head, when he has absolutely shown improvement in the hitters from last year to this.

  2. One game. Every other game the Gators have hit well! Nothing like last year, from what we’ve seen so far. Last year we were lousy out of the gate. This team hits better than last year’s team did, more weapons. Guys like Bell and Reese coming into their own, JJ off to a great start, plus newcomers like Dalton who can hit. And the pitching is the best in the U.S. Relax. We ran into a hot pitcher, it happens. One game.

    • I agree with Steve. better hitters and pitchers than last year, If the defense is as good, then look out. My only knock on Sully, is that he seems to never, and I mean never, lets a hitter swing at the first pitch. Against a really good pitcher with excellent control, like the ones we see in post season, if you don’t swing at that first pitch strike, and get behind, you’re not going to see another unless you get to 3-2. Just think we miss alot of good pitches to hit. Other than that, he’s the best in the country.

  3. We need a new manager! Winning a national championship is not enough. We need a quality manager who can do the following:
    1) Not lose…EVER!
    2) Not give up any runs
    3) Not give up any hits
    4) Score 10+ runs a game
    5) Recruit only the best talent and keep them out of the draft

    This is UF and this is what we deserve.