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Feb 18, 2017; Gainesville, FL; Florida Gators Jonathan India loads to swing in Saturday's game against William & Mary. India was 3-for-5 at the plate with three RBIs and a home run. Credit: Savanna Collins - ESPN 98.1 FM

Gator Baseball Falls Apart in Ninth Inning, Suffers First Loss 3-2

A bases-loaded walk-off single from Jacksonville’s Scott Dubrule capped off a three-run bottom of the ninth for the Dolphins as they came back to knock off the second ranked Gator baseball team 3-2 Tuesday night in Jacksonville. The loss drops Florida to 3-1 on the season while Jacksonville improves to 3-1 on the year, picking up only their second win over the Gators in their last six meetings.

Andrew Baker took the loss for the Gators in relief and Tyler Santana earned the win for the Dolphins after allowing no runs and three hits in two innings of relief work.

Recap

Both starting pitchers turned in quality starts, even though they both ended up with no decisions.

Michael Byrne earned the start for the Gators after impressing in three scoreless innings of relief in Friday’s win over William and Mary. He continued his good start to the season, bringing the fire while continuing his scoreless streak to start the season. Byrne went seven scoreless innings while striking out eight batters. He’s now tossed 10 scoreless innings to start his sophomore year, and he has been a pleasant revelation in what is a young Gator pitching staff. Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said Byrne was one of the positives of the game.

For Jacksonville, Casey Kulina also went seven innings, getting six strikeouts while giving up only five hits and two runs, a solid outing considering the power the Gators have in their lineup.

It seemed like the Gators would earn a shutout win, after entering the ninth inning with a 2-0 lead.

Gators Jump In Front

They opened the scoring in the top of the second inning. Mike Rivera reached on an error and later scored on a fielder’s choice ground out by Mark Kolozsvary and the Gators doubled the lead in the top of the third inning as Dalton Guthrie led off the inning with a single and later scored on an RBI ground out from Jonathan India.

The Gators were unable to add to the lead the rest of the way though, as the middle of the lineup really struggled. India, J.J. Schwarz, and Rivera combined to go only 1 for 12 in the game, with only one RBI between the three of them. O’Sullivan said Florida’s going to need to score more runs in the mid-week games to help out the young pitchers.

Jacksonville Comes Back

That 2-0 lead fell apart for the Gators in the ninth inning.

Frank Rubio came in to relieve Nick Horvath who had pitched a scoreless eighth inning in relief of Byrne.  Rubio allowed back to back singles before getting the first out of the inning on a strikeout and he was replaced by freshman lefty Andrew Baker, who promptly gave up a game tying two RBI double to Sam Armstrong.  Baker then walked two batters to load the bases before giving up his game winning hit to Dubrule, who had three hits on the night for the Dolphins. O’Sullivan said that he knows his bullpen is young, and this is the type of game from which they’ll learn.

The two teams will play again Wednesday night in Gainesville.

About Jonathan Acosta

Native New Englander. Follow me on Twitter: @jonacosta_10

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