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.”