Florida-FAU to play winner-take-all at regional

Florida's infielder Nelson Maldonado reacts to his double in Game 1 against FAU matched in the NCAA Regionals final, Monday, at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. The Gators fell to the Eagles 7-4 and will play for the Championship in a second game with first pitch at 9:45.[Cyndi Chambers/Gainesville Sun Correspondent]

Florida Atlantic forced a seventh and deciding regional game at the Gainesville Regional with a 7-4 win over Florida on Monday at McKethan Stadium.

First pitch for the game is scheduled for 9:45 p.m. The final game will be televised on ESPNU.

Freshman righty Jack Leftwich (4-5, 4.50 ERA) will start for the Gators against FAU lefty Nick Swan (2-0, 5.25 ERA) in the deciding game.

The Gators (44-18) were done in by a combination of poor pitching and defense. Florida committed three errors behind starter Jackson Kowar and reliever Andrew Baker.

Kowar (9-5) took the loss, allowing seven runs (four earned) and 11 hits in six innings with four walks and five strikeouts. Kowar has allowed four or more runs in each of his last three starts.

FAU (43-18) jumped ahead 5-0 with five runs in the third inning, a frame that was prolonged when right fielder Wil Dalton stumbled and dropped a ball in right field to load the bases. Right fielder David Miranda and third baseman Joe Montes each had two-RBI singles.

Florida cut the lead to 5-2 in the top of the fourth with a Blake Reese two-run homer, but FAU answered with two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Shortstop Deacon Liput booted a potential double play ball during the inning, and FAU scored two runs on a Montes sacrifice fly and Jared DeSantolo RBI single.

Nelson Maldonado had an RBI single in the fifth and Liput a solo home run in the ninth, but the Gators were unable to generate more runs, going 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position while leaving eight on base.

Zach Schneider (7-1) got the win for FAU, allowing three runs on six hits over five innings. The righty side-armer, the Owls’ closer, walked one and struck out five, fooling Florida hitters with an assortment of off-speed pitches.

The game, scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., did not start until 5:45 p.m. due to a four hour, 45-minute weather delay.

During the game, Florida had a pair of players selected in the Major League Baseball amateur draft. Third baseman Jonathan India went fifth overall to the Cincinnati Reds, while right-handed pitcher Brady Singer went 18th overall to the Kansas City Royals. Kowar was taken during the second game, going 33rd overall (first round supplemental) to the Royals.


  1. They certainly played like a team with their heads elsewhere, like the draft, or who knows. The errors this late in the season are atrocious. I have watched as much UF baseball as I could this year, and I have been so proud of them for the most part, but now I am losing faith; they just look they don’t care anymore. Have no clue why either. I hope they care enough tonight, or they will go down as the biggest bust of any UF baseball team. No doubt about that, for all the hype. Go gators.

    • If someone had heard all of the hype all year about how good UF was and then tuned in for that game, they would be shaking their heads and perhaps laughing at the comedy of errors. Anyway, I really hope they get out of this funk and finish business, because Auburn and Casey Mize are not going to be easy. However, they may not even get to face them. That would be a major collapse like Gator Steve mentioned.

  2. I meant to write that now that most of the super stars have been drafted by now, maybe they can pay attention to the baseball game they are playing in. might help…At least they get home field advantage with last at bat.

  3. Why do they hold the MLB draft during the CWS? A total distraction to say the least. Regardless, probably Sully’s worst job of managing when it counts the most. He seems to have a hard time gettiing his teams with the most talent to focus. It’s not the first time.

  4. Always baffled by other gator fans. So much moaning and giving up. Try this: enjoy the fact that we have had the best baseball program for the last four years. Two wins from yet another trip to Omaha.

    You may now return to your complaints.