The top ranked Florida baseball team dropped the second game of a double header to the Tennessee Volunteers (19-14, 5-7) on Sunday in a seven inning game. The loss brings Florida’s nine game winning streak to an end. However, with a win earlier in the day, the Gators have now won each of their first four SEC series, a feat they hadn’t accomplished since 1994.
Sunday’s series finale started and ended roughly for Gator starting pitcher Tyler Dyson. He evaded damage in the first despite loading the bases and stranded a runner in the second. Unfortunately for Dyson, he couldn’t work out of trouble in the third.
The trouble began when Dyson issued back-to-back walks and hit a batter with one out. He battled back by striking out senior Benito Santiago, but sophomore Pete Derkay capitalized on the situation in the following at-bat with a bases-clearing double that put Tennessee up 3-1.
Derkay would then score on consecutive passed balls to make it 4-1 Vols lead. After surrendering a single and another walk, Dyson’s day was over.
Tough day for Dyson. Final line: 2.2 IP, 6 ER, 3 H, 5 BB, 2 HBP, 4 K.
— Ryan McGinn (@Ry_McGinn) April 8, 2018
Over the course of his last three starts, Dyson’s ERA has climbed by a full two runs from 1.48 to 3.48. He has failed to complete five innings of work in each of those games.
Jack Leftwich took over for Dyson and failed to stop the bleeding. Sophomore Jay Charleston singled through the left side to plate two more Tennessee runs. The Volunteers now led 6-1 after three innings.
Florida’s Late Rally Comes Up Short
After getting the final out of the third, Leftwich settled in and pitched a 1-2-3 fourth inning. Austin Langworthy came in from left field to pitch the final two innings, surrendering just one hit.
Gator coach Kevin O’Sullivan was ejected in the top of the sixth and Wil Dalton responded with a solo home run, his 12th of the season, to cut the deficit to 6-2. Later in the frame, Shane Shifflett scored on a Keenan Bell double to make it 6-3.
The Gators brought the winning run to the plate in Langworthy after they loaded up the bases in the seventh. He singled to drive in a run, making it 6-4. However, Blake Reese ended the threat and the game by grounding out to third base.
Deacon Liput scored the first run of the game with a home run, his third of the season, in the first. It’s his third of the season and he’s now hitting .329 this year.
Jonathan India extended his hitting streak to 19 games with a single through the left side in the seventh inning that was part of Florida’s late rally. Tim Olson holds the record for the longest hitting streak in Florida history at 29 games. He did that during the 2000 season.
Up next, Florida looks for the season sweep against Florida State as they stay on the road and travel to Tallahassee. The Gators have won seven in a row against the Seminoles, including two victories earlier this season by a combined score of 13-6.