The College of Charleston Cougars came out of a three hour 10 minute rain delay eager, scoring three quick runs in the first inning that would be enough to put the top-seeded Gator baseball team on the brink of elimination as Florida falls 3-2 in an NCAA Regional match up.
College of Charleston scored all its runs in the first inning off Gator starter and loser Logan Shore and it turned out to be all the runs they would need. The first five hitters in the order got hits as Brandon Murray doubled home a run and Nick Pappas doubled in two more. However, Pappas was out on a hidden ball trick and a runner was thrown out at home trying to score as the damage could have been worse,
In all, the Cougars got seven hits in the inning and had 10 hits by the third inning.
Florida’s first real opportunity at a comeback would come in the bottom half of the third inning. Taylor Gushue and Braden Mattson both found themselves at bat with the bases loaded following three consecutive singles from Casey Turgeon (2-for-3), Richie Martin, and Harrison Bader (2-for-5), but both struck out.
The Orange and Blue found themselves in a bases loaded situation once again in the bottom of the forth after a single and two walks. Richie Martin popped out to right field to end the inning, and once again the Gators left the bases stranded.
Junior Mike Fahrman put the Gators within two runs in the fifth with a pinch-hit RBI grounder. Harrison Bader started off the fifth for Florida with a single through the right side and Gushue drew a walk, before Mattson cranked one into center field. The Cougar outfielder dropped what looked to be a great catch against the wall. However, Mattson was thrown out at first base on a running miscue in which he passed Gushue. The Gators trailed at the end of the fifth inning, 3-1.
Justin Shafer entered the game for Logan Shore to start off the sixth inning and went on to retire all 12 batters he faced over four innings. After a rocky start for Shore, he was able to settle down with four shutout innings and six strikeouts. Shore has worked at least five innings in all of his 15 starts this season.
The bottom of the sixth was greeted with back to back singles from Josh Tobias (2-for-3) and Casey Turgeon, to put runners at the corners. Martin sac flied to right field, allowing Tobias to score and the Gators to narrow their gap to 3-2.
Unfortunately for the Orange and Blue, they were unable to score any more runs in their 3-2 loss to the fourth-seeded Cougars, making them now 12-1 in NCAA Regionals held in Gainesville under head coach Kevin O’Sullivan.
O’Sullivan says that they were out-played and all they can do now is focus on the next game.
“Congratulations to the College of Charleston; they played a really clean game. They came out of the gates really quick, scoring three there in the first. I thought we settled down and pitched well from that point forward, but credit the College of Charleston. They did enough to win and they pitched themselves out of some jams. I think we left 11 on base and we were just one key hit away from tying that thing up. So, we know what’s in front of us. We’re in the loser’s bracket, but we have plenty of pitching and we’ll be ready to go tomorrow at 1 p.m,” explained O’sullivan.
Up next for the Gators will be an elimination game against North Carolina at 1pm. Third-seeded North Carolina fell to second-seeded Long Beach State on Friday afternoon in a 6-1 loss.
Turgeon says that they shouldn’t be counted out yet.
“We just have to take it one game at a time. The same thing happened last week when we lost to Kentucky. We can easily put some wins together, but it’s just a matter of taking it one game at a time,” said Turgeon.
To hear audio about the game from Turgeon and O’Sullivan click below: