Mississippi State sweeps top-ranked Florida

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Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan. [File]

Special to Gatorsports.com

STARKVILLE, Miss. — It was bound to happen.

Mississippi State defeated Florida 13-6 Saturday to take all three games of the baseball series from top-ranked Florida, which was swept for the first time since the SEC season-opening series at Auburn last year.

The Gators (41-15, 20-10 SEC) have now lost four consecutive games for the first time since May of 2013.

Mississippi State (31-24, 15-15) is 9-1 against Top-10 opponents this season, including a sweep of No. 6 Arkansas.

UF catcher JJ Schwarz was given the day off after bruising his throwing hand off a foul tip Friday night.

“We hit a lot of balls hard this weekend, but at the end of the day I thought we were in a good frame of mind,” UF coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We talked about refocusing and trying to get back on the winning track again.

“I thought we had some good at-bats in the first inning, we had the bases loaded there and would’ve liked to get another hit and maybe open it up a little bit. We didn’t get off to a good start on the mound, (Jake) Mangum hits the first pitch out for a home run.”

The SEC tournament begins Tuesday in Hoover, Ala. UF, the top seed, won’t play until Wednesday 5:30 p.m. (ET). The Gators will play the winner of the nine seed Mississippi State-eight seed LSU (33-23) game from Tuesday.

“Obviously you want to be playing your best baseball at the end of the year,” O’Sullivan said. “We just don’t have the ability to turn it on or turn it off when we want to. We’ll try to draw from this and get back on track in the SEC Tournament and go from there.”

Mississippi State used a six-run eighth inning to pull away. It was a back-and-forth game through seven innings.

Florida scored in the first inning, but Mississippi State hit a pair of homers in the bottom half of the inning to take a 4-1 lead.

The Gators responded with a pair of runs in the second to cut the deficit to one, but MSU pushed it back to three with two runs in the third.

A two-run homer from Deacon Liput in the second inning cut the deficit to one run. MSU went up 6-3 with two runs in the third.

Cal Greenfield hit a two-run home run to cut UF’s deficit to 6-5 in the fourth and Florida tied the game at 6-6 in the top of the sixth inning on Austin Langworthy’s RBI single.

In the bottom of the sixth with the bases loaded, Rowdey Jordan grounded into a double play but it was enough to bring across the eventual winning run.

UF starter Jackson Kowar (9-3) suffered the loss, allowing seven runs on nine hits through 5.2 innings.

“It was just one of those days, one of those weekends,” O’Sullivan said. “I’m going to take some time to reflect back on the weekend. We just got beat in every phase. We talked about it this week after we tied for the SEC championship last Saturday that we needed to keep our edge. Obviously this weekend we weren’t able to do that. It was a weird weekend altogether, Brady (Singer) has to sit because of the hamstring, Tommy Mace goes 6.1 scoreless and has a great start but then our bullpen falters which it hasn’t done all year long.”

25 COMMENTS

  1. Hopefully this will be an attention getter. Can’t go through the motions and win very many games. With all the love and accolades being heaped on the Gators this series by the announcers they’re going home with a lot of egg on their faces.

  2. What happened? I doubt they make it out of the Regional’s………………..no TEAM EFFORT!! What caused FOUR LOSSES in a Row? Who quit playing? Somebody is to Blame? WHO? I think the entire TEAM just QUIT, hell, they are NO Team.

    • Remember that the four losses include the last game of the previous weekend’s series against UGA that the Gators won. Including that game in a losing streak is pretty lame. They had their first bad weekend in 1 1/2 years…..I wouldn’t be worried too much with the team. If they go out and lay an egg in Hoover, and lose the first game in the regionals….then you can talk about this being “NO Team”. Otherwise, just go ahead and jump off the ledge so we don’t have to listen to you again.

  3. Gators had 4 chances to win only one of them in their last 4 games in order to win the SEC outright and lost all of them. Terrible! If Arkansas had not lost to UGA, then UF and Arkansas would have shared the regular season title. UF was lucky in the end so that this year they don’t have to share the title like they did last year with LSU. With that said, they better get their act together going into the tournament.

    • Well Said. I’m not sure why, but this “Team” seems to have Shut Down, and Quit PLaying. Reminds me of the Florida Football Team. No enthusiasm, no spirit, no Spark…………………what a DISSAPOINTMENT! Thanks a bunch. Thank God for Gator Softball, at least they know how to COMPETE!

  4. Maybe they started reading their own press clips? If they aren’t royally pissed at themselves they won’t last long in the post-season. Losing their last 4 games should never happen to this team.

    • Miss State could be eliminated the day before UF plays their first game of the tourney. And even if UF loses their first game, it wouldn’t eliminate them. Either know what you’re talking about or don’t comment, otherwise you just look foolish.

  5. Tough weekend after taking the SEC Championship. SEC Champions! SEC Champions! Let’s refocus for Hoover. Hope you don’t read the football minded comments from so-called fans. The band-wagon “fans” come out of the wood work when things get tough. Go Gators!

    • @ Bob – “Not a good ball club”??? Because of one sweep in the SEC? I guess being ranked #1 all year long (except for 1 week) makes a bad team, right? You are an ignorant fan and a disgrace to have here. Go away, please.

  6. Great year for the Gators so far, no doubt, but I don’t agree with Coach Sully (for once), “It was just one of those days, one of those weekends.” – I watched parts of the Friday and Saturday games and we were clearly outplayed by MSU – they had better pitching and better hitting and maybe, maybe, a focus on beating the #1 team in the country vs. us just showing up.

    Losing by a combined 31-13 over a weekend is embarrassing – no matter what the circumstances. Let’s get going men and play to our potential and talent! There’s no reason to not win the SEC Tourney! And you wont ever have this opportunity again!

  7. I think “gatorhopeful” might be right about the cause of such an all-around poor performance by a talented team. It’s not unheard-of for young athletes who have been so highly praised to suffer some overconfidence and a loss of focus, especially if they
    are looking forward to bigger things in the near future. We can only hope that the necessary focus is re-acquired before Tuesday. Go Gators!!!

  8. Wow! Sure seems like a lot of bandwagon fans commenting. Look, I am a season ticket holder and attend ebery game. I played baseball throughout my life ro include College. Somerimes toy run inro.a buzz saw. MSU was that buzz saw this weekend. Folks MSU is now 9-1 against top 5 teams. That is astounding. It took me several hours after the final game to reflect back on the entire season. Playing so well all year long and clinching the regular season title early was nice but sometimes it has a negative effect. The Gators whole weekend was discombobulated from the start with the game time scratch of Singer on Thursday night. No, the Gators looked terrible for the most part but there was some bright spots; Mace looked great and McMullen did as well. Langworthy had a great weekend hitting his first two HRs, Liput stroking the ball and even backup catcher Cal Greenfield hit his first HR on the year. Lets just simmer down a little and see what happens in Hoover. If the same lackluster performance is duplicated in Hoover th en we can worry. Let’s just chalk this up to a bump.in the road against arguably one of the hottest teams in College right now. Let’s trust Sully, his staff and the boys to get back in sink.
    Always a Gator…..

  9. Needless to say, this sweep was what I predicted would happen after the first loss as I saw it coming.

    I love this team, love our coach, but it was clear to me that this Sully considered this a developmental trip for his pitchers more than a need-to-win series, and I myself didn’t like that. I don’t FOR A MOMENT believe Singer had any serious hamstring issues and that Sully was just saving him. When we put Leftwich on the mound in game #2, I knew it was going to end in disaster.

    You put your best players on the field and try to win the game, so why possibly jeopardize our seeding with potential losses? Four SEC losses in a row, and yes, we won an outright SEC Title which was great, but what I saw this series was a team completely devoid of focus, energy, or fire.

    Infuriating that we have to now find a way to re-energize this team before the Tourney. I for one am not liking this from a post-season momentum point of view. Matter of fact, it has me quite worried. You want to see your team peaking at this time, not falling off.

    • How many teams have you led to a conference or National Title? I will trust Sully getting a team ready over your opinion. Relax and learn to trust the best coach in college baseball. Hopefully our fair weather fans wont cause him to leave for another college job one day.

  10. I trust Sully to get ’em straightened and flying right because he IS the best coach in college baseball. His record speaks for itself. And, yes, the Gators DID run into a buzz saw in StarkVegas. And, yes, their hometown fans did support their MS players. Better than some of the negative nincompoops I’ve seen on this page.