Florida’s baseball team (21-11, 4-6 SEC) had considerable momentum going into their SEC-road series this weekend at Ole Miss. The Gators were riding their longest win streak of the season (5) coming into Friday. During that span, they captured their first SEC-series win with a sweep of Alabama at home.
But all that momentum came to a screeching halt in Oxford against the Rebels. Ole Miss (21-10,6-4) amassed 17 hits against Kevin O’Sullivan’s pitching staff that culminated into a 12-4 win in the opener of a three-game series.
In this one, Gator sophomore starter Tommy Mace was hammered for 12 hits in just 3.1 innings of work. He was charged with six earned runs, and the bullpen also had equal trouble getting outs.
Ole Miss tacked on two insurance runs in the seventh inning and another three in the eighth. Ultimately, that put the game out of reach and rubbed some salt into Florida’s wounds.
Due to possible bad weather on Sunday, the teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 1pm to end the series.
Tough one for the #Gators on the road tonight, but we've got two more chances tomorrow.
— Florida Gators Baseball (@GatorsBB) April 6, 2019
Mace’s struggles in SEC play continue
Mace has been a consistent presence in the Gator rotation this season. He’s only failed to reach the seventh inning in two of his eight starts. Friday he didn’t come anywhere close.
The right hander managed to keep the Rebels off the scoreboard for the first two innings. By that point, Mace was able to scatter five hits.
When Florida handed their starter a two-run lead in the third inning, he was bit by the long ball in the bottom half of the frame. First, third baseman Tyler Keenan took Mace deep to left field. That tied the game, and two batters later DH Cole Zabowski gave the Rebels their first lead with a solo shot.
The very next inning they’d blow the game open.
Mace would exit the game with runners on the corners and one run having already crossed home in the fourth inning. Sophomore reliever Jordan Butler couldn’t prevent those runners from scoring either. A passed ball and another RBI single in the inning by catcher Cooper Johnson made the score 7-2.
Mace has now allowed 13 earned runs in 16.1 innings on the road to SEC opponents. Florida is also still searching for their first SEC victory on the road (0-4).
Florida is yet to announce their starter for either games on Saturday. Freshmen Nolan Crisp and Hunter Ruth may both be in line for starts. They’ve both impressed in the spot starts they’ve gotten this season. Tyler Dyson is also a possibility.
The Gators’ offense did show that they’re capable of putting some runs on the board as well. In the fifth, they got two runs on two solo homers from shortstop Brady McConnell and catcher Brady Smith. They only collected five hits but did draw three walks.
Last weekend Florida put up 21 runs in three games against Alabama. If O’Sullivan’s pitching staff can keep his team in ballgames, he’s already said that he likes his team’s chances.
McDonnell had a big night at the plate for Florida, going 3 for 4.
WP: Tyler Myers (2-0) – 5 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 5 K.
LP: Tommy Mace (5-3) – 3.1 IP, 12 H, 6 ER, K, BB.
Florida's five-game win streak is over. Games 2 & 3 will be played tomorrow starting at 1 p.m ET.
— ESPN 98.1/ 850 WRUF (@ESPNGainesville) April 6, 2019