Jacksonville knocks off No. 1 Gators

UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan sees Gators lose another midweek game. [Cyndi Chambers/Correspondent/File]

Florida junior third baseman Jonathan India kept his hit streak alive.

But UF was unable to extend its modest win streak. Powered by a pair of timely home runs, Jacksonville upended the No. 1 Gators 8-4 on Tuesday night before an announced 3,478 at McKethan Stadium.

Florida (32-7) had won four straight and 13 of its last 14 before falling to the Dolphins (25-9).

For Florida, it was a night of missed opportunities. The Gators left 13 runners on base, including leaving the bases loaded in both the fifth and sixth innings.

“We left 13 and it’s hard to win games like that,” Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan said.

India extended his hit streak to 24 games with an RBI double in the fifth inning, which cut Jacksonville’s lead to 5-4. But with runners on second and third, right fielder Wil Dalton followed with a pop out to first base, then catcher JJ Schwarz struck out. Left fielder Austin Langworthy then walked to load the bases, but second baseman Blake Reese flied out to the warning track in left field to end the inning.

India is now tied with Bobby Forbes (who hit in 24 straight games in 1948) for the third-longest hit streak in school history. Tim Olson holds the school record with a 29-game hit streak in 2000, followed by Brad Wilkerson, who hit in 26 straight games during the end of the 1996 and beginning of the 1997 season.

“It’s pretty cool, I guess,” India said. “I’d rather win. But I’m seeing good pitches, putting good swings on balls.”

Langworthy (0-1) took the loss in relief of Florida starter Jack Leftwich, who was on a pitch count and pulled after allowing three runs in 3.1 innings on 52 pitches. In 1.2 innings, Langworthy allowed two runs on six hits.

“We made the decision to go to Langworthy right after Leftwich,” O’Sullivan said. “We thought, A, he’s coming off pitching good at Tennessee a couple of weeks ago and it’s a huge contrast between him and Jack. Jack is throwing 92-94 and a lefty coming in throwing 80-82 and low 70s offspeed, we thought maybe he could get away with an inning or two, which obviously didn’t work out.”

Dalton put Florida up 1-0 in the second inning with a solo homer to left field, his team-leading 13th of the season. The Gators went up 2-0 on an RBI fielder’s choice from India in the third inning.

But Jacksonville touched Leftwich and Langworthy for three runs in the third, a rally that included an RBI single from Angel Camacho and an RBI groundout from catcher Jake Southern. Dalton saved another run with a strong throw from right field, cutting down first baseman John Cassala at home plate.

Florida tied the score at 3 in the fourth inning when Schwarz led off the frame with a double and scored on a groundout by Reese. But Jacksonville went back up 4-3 when Langworthy surrendered a solo home run to designated hitter Evan Fernandez to lead off the fifth inning. Cassala added an RBI single later in the fifth inning to put the Dolphins up 5-3.

Junior lefty Nick Horvath, making his first appearance on the mound since Feb. 21 against Bethune-Cookman, allowed a run in the sixth on a balk to put Jacksonville up 6-4.

Florida loaded the bases again down 6-4 in the bottom of the sixth, but Dalton lined out softy to third base to end the inning. Then, in the seventh, Jacksonville added a pair of big insurance runs when Cassala belted a two-run homer to left off Horvath to go up 8-4.

O’Sullivan said Horvath threw the ball well in practice Monday. Using both Horvath and Langworthy kept UF’s bullpen rested for an SEC series that begins Thursday night at No. 6 Kentucky.

“We didn’t want to use (Jordan) Butler, we didn’t want to use (Michael) Byrne unless we really had to, we didn’t want to use Tommy Mace,” O’Sullivan said. “It changed a little bit but that’s no excuse. We just got beat.”


  1. Listen, you don’t win em all and I get that, but this loss tonight was avoidable at a cost… either play your better relievers on a Tuesday night in an insignificant game, or save them for an early series with UK on the road starting Thursday night.

    Meanwhile, Jax is pitching their top guys.

    I get that mindset, but I also think if you’re not really going to take these games seriously, then don’t schedule them.

    Sully blew this game tonight with some unprepared pitching imo. The big hit was one thing, but our pitching was downright awful.

    • If the UK series was Fri-Sun, last night would have been treated differently on the mound. Baseball players want to play, so obviously you schedule a midweek game every week during conference play and two midweek games a week before conference play starts.

      • Also, the statement that “JU is pitching their top guys” is false. None of their weekend starters threw… just like us. Only “top guy” they threw was their closer Mauloni, which is like us bringing in Byrne to seal the deal.

    • Stupid comments. Sully did not underprepare or ‘not care’ about this game. These games are great opportunities to get guys like Langworthy and McMullen innings on the mound. He started the same guy who shut down FSU for 6 innings a few weeks back, it just wasn’t his night. If you only play weekend games and only use your top relievers and starters, then how do you know who your go to guy is gonna be when you’re playing game 5 of a regional and there’s a rainout and you have to figure out which arms to go to? What if Tyler Dyson hadn’t gotten any work in the midweek last year? And no, JU didn’t use weekend guys either, but those guys were playing their super bowl. No one on their roster has ever been to the NCAA Tourney and in a 1-bid league, hard to predict that they will this year either. It’s why FGCU, UCF, Stetson, etc, always play us so tough. Bunch of kids who were 1 small step away from playing at UF trying to prove themselves against guys with far less to prove. Good for them, happy for their kids, and let’s go sweep UK on a short week.

  2. The Gator strength and Sully’s command of the program is understood by all. Stuff like this happens. Jax is a good small college team that is capable of beating anybody. If we’re gonna play our back line pitchers there is a good chance they hang an “L” on us. It’s baseball. Plenty of games, lost while holding back against a good team. This loss changes nothing.

  3. No problem in losing to the Dolphins on a Tuesday night – they are 25-9 and obviously good enough to beat us if we don’t pitch well or get timely hits – and tonight we didn’t get either and it’s a loss.

    All that needs to be said about the current state of Gator baseball is 13-1 against FSU in the last 14. My word – who would ever have dreamed that?

    Sully is doing a terrific job leading this team and building the Gator brand. Personally, I can’t wait until the new stadium is built in a couple of years. Good grief, what will the team look like then! Go Gators!