The Florida Gators and the Texas A&M Aggies were yet again tied after nine innings of baseball for the second time of the three game weekend series in College Station on Sunday. However, Florida wasn’t able to hold on to its perfect record of 4-0 in extra-inning games this season as it fell to the Aggie 4-3 in 11 innings.
The Aggies (17-8/3-3 SEC) broke a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the 11th inning with a two-out RBI single to defeat the Florida Gators (15-9/3-3 SEC) and clinch the series.
Left-hander Bobby Poyner started off on the mound for the Gators, but it wouldn’t be long into the first inning that the Aggies would score off a two-out RBI single from junior Mitchell Nau.
Florida responded in the top of the third inning to tie the game at 1-1 with a two-out single from junior Casey Turgeon to score junior Josh Tobias, who had drawn a leadoff walk. However, Texas A&M quickly stole the lead back in the fourth on a double into left field.
The fifth inning would be greeted with back-to-back singles from Justin Shafer and Tobias. Richie Martin would tie the contest at 2-2 with a ground ball to bring Shafer across. Yet again the Aggies responded in the bottom half of the inning with a run to take a 3-2 advantage.
With the Gators still down by a run in the ninth, they tied the game but could have gotten more. Taylor Gushue singled and Ryan Larson ran for him. Pinch hitter Zack Powers sacrificed and Braden Mattson singled, putting runners on the corners. Justin Shafer laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to score Larson and pinch hitter Jason Lombardozzi singled but Mattson was held at third to load the bases. Buddy Reed tried to bunt with two strikes and struck out and Mattson was picked off third to end the inning.
Gator coach Kevin O’Sullivan says it’s hard to win when you don’t take advantage of all scoring opportunities.
“We battled there all the way to the end, and scored a run in the ninth with bases loaded and one out…It’s one of those things when you’re on the road and you get scoring opportunities and you don’t take advantage of them then it is difficult to win on the road as it is,” said O’Sullivan.
Aaron Rhodes relieved Poyner and pitched brilliantly until the 11th inning. A pinch hit single by Nick Banks led off the Aggie inning and he was sacrificed to second. Patrick McLendon struck out but Troy Stein walked and lefty Danny Young was summoned from the bullpen to face lefty Cole Lankford, who hit a sharp single down the right field line to score the winning run.
Next the Gators will travel to Jacksonville on Tuesday to take on in state rival Florida State. First pitch is set for 6pm.
O’Sullivan says they need to now turn their focus to Tuesday.
“It’s just the little things are hurting us right now. We’ve been playing good baseball and we’ve gone on a little bit of a run but we just have to get back to work and clean up a few things and get ready to play on Tuesday,” O’Sullivan said.
To hear audio from Kevin O’Sullivan click below: