Special to Gatorsports.com
LUBBOCK, Texas — Florida allowed nine runs in the fourth inning, and tried as it did, couldn’t overcome the deficit Sunday, as Dallas Baptist eliminated the Gators from the NCAA Lubbock Regional, 9-8.
The Patriots (43-19), who knocked the Gators into the loser’s bracket with an 11-8 win in the opener Friday, will play top-seed Texas Tech (41-17) later today in the regional final.
Florida’s season ends at 34-26.
Florida had a 2-0 lead through the first three innings thanks to a run-scoring grounder and later a home run from Austin Langworthy, his 10th of the season. Then the top of the fourth happened.
Dallas Baptist had only one hit entering the fourth off UF starter Nick Pogue. When the half frame was over, the Patriots had scored nine runs on seven hits, four walks and a hit batsman in sending 15 batters to the plate. Seven of the runs came after two were out. Bryce Ball and Andres Sosa hit long home runs, Augie Isaacson drilled an RBI double, Luke Bandy hit a two-run single and Jimmy Glowenke hit a three-run home run to cap the most runs allowed in an inning by UF this season.
Pogue (1-1) gave up six runs on six hits and reliever Nolan Crisp allowed three runs on two hits, two walks and a hit batter. He did not record an out before being replaced by Ben Specht.
“The beginning just got us,” UF coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “Gave up seven runs with two outs and couldn’t quite stop the bleeding. That’s been our M.O. the entire year.
“Unfortunate that we weren’t able to stop it. I haven’t been involved in many innings like that. I think the three-run homer is probably the one that probably got us. You know, just kind of got us in a bad position there.”
Not to be outdone, Florida scored four runs in the fifth inning to cut the deficit to 9-6. After two outs, Langworthy singled and later scored on Nelson Maldonado’s double. Brady Smith then hit a RBI single and Wil Dalton (eighth) followed with a two-run home run to account for the run production.
Florida had an opportunity to cut further into the deficit after two were out in the sixth. Singles by Jacob Young and Brady McConnell and a walk to Langworthy loaded the bases, but Maldonado struck out with a full count.
The Gators made it 9-7 in the seventh on Jordan Butler’s RBI single, but stranded two in scoring position.
Specht kept the Gators in the game by pitching a career-high 4.1 scoreless innings. He was replaced in the ninth by Tyler Dyson, who last pitched on April 20. He struck out two of the three batters he set down.
The Gators came within one in the ninth. A single by Dalton, a walk to Calilao, a sacrifice bunt by Cory Acton and a RBI grounder by pinch-hitter Kirby McMullen made it a 9-8 game with two outs. Burl Carraway finished his sixth save by getting Young on a groundout to second with the tying run at third base.
“This is probably the most resilient offense I’ve had in 12 years,” O’Sullivan said. “They continue to scratch and claw and do what they needed to do to get us back in the ballgame. Most teams down 9-2, it would be tough to come back, and you know we got one base hit away from tying up the ballgame there in the ninth.”
Jimmy Fouse (6-0) allowed seven hits and six runs in five innings for DBU.