The third ranked Florida baseball team (20-5, 3-3 SEC) split a doubleheader at Ole Miss on Saturday, losing the first game 5-2 and winning the second game 8-4. Ole Miss wins the series after winning on Friday.
The Gators (20-5, 3-3 SEC) and Rebels (13-10, 3-3 SEC) logged over seven hours of field time on Saturday, as inclement weather for Saturday night and Sunday pushed the two teams to host a Saturday doubleheader to wrap up the series a day early.
The Gators dropped game one of the doubleheader, 5-2, behind a shaky performance from starter A.J. Puk, who logged just 2 1/3 innings, allowing three hits, five runs (four earned) and four walks.
The Gators bounced back in the second game, winning 8-4. Ole Miss scored three meaningless runs in the ninth inning to make the score respectable. Dane Dunning got the start for the Gators, going 4 1/3 innings, giving up five hits and one earned run but Bobby Poyner picked up the win with a solid relief performance.
Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan was not pleased with the performance of any of his pitchers throughout the weekend.
“We got some guys in roles that just aren’t ready for this quite yet,” O’Sullivan said. “I mean it’s obvious. Three starters go out there and we didn’t get five innings from any of them.”
The Gator pitching staff was not the only area of concern for the Gators over the weekend.
The Gator offense saw its fair share of struggles as well, leaving 12 men on base in the first game of the doubleheader. Junior outfielder Harrison Bader struggled hitting the ball throughout the weekend, going just 1-for-13.
O’Sullivan was not thrilled with the performance of the offense either.
“We’re not going to win a lot of games with the middle of the order not producing like they did this weekend. Our best players did not play well this weekend.”
The few bright spots for the Gator offense this weekend were freshman infielder Dalton Guthrie, who now has a hit in nine of his last 10 games, and sophomore outfielder Buddy Reed, who extended his hitting streak to 12 games. Freshman catcher Mike Rivera was also a key contributor, driving in four runs during the doubleheader.
O’Sullivan praised the performance of the Guthrie and Rivera.
“I can’t say enough about Dalton and Mike. I think they had six RBIs between the two of them in the second game here.”
All in all, O’Sullivan plans to use this weekend as a learning tool to help the team grow and improve throughout the remainder of the season.
“I had an idea about our club coming into the weekend; I most certainly have a better idea of what guys can and can’t do,” O’Sullivan said. “So we’ll regroup. We’ll get better. We’ve got a long way to go. There’s a lot of positives to pull from today. We’ve just got to figure out the right roles on our pitching staff. We need to get all of our guys healthy, and I think once we get everybody back, and we get our pitching roles situated where they should be, I think we have a chance to be a very good team.”
The Gators will be back in action on Tuesday when they travel to DeLand to take on the Stetson Hatters.
For sound from Kevin O’Sullivan, click below.