The Florida baseball team will limp into Hoover, Alabama, for the SEC Tournament after being swept by No. 1 Arkansas.
The Gators sat No. 9 in the D1Baseball.com Top 25 entering the final regular season weekend series. They needed to climb into the top eight and grab at least one game versus the Razorbacks to grab a national seed and host a super regional. However, they will most likely cling to a top-16 ranking that will allow them to host a regional.
Florida will need to regroup after it dropped four straight games to end the regular season. Coach Kevin O’Sullivan and his team missed out on the opportunity to earn a first-round bye. They will face No. 11-seeded Kentucky in the single-elimination first round Tuesday 10:30 a.m. EDT.
“Bottom line is they just outplayed us this weekend,” O’Sullivan said about the sweep, according to FloridaGators.com. “They out pitched us; they outhit us. Credit them.”
He added that despite the difficult weekend Florida still needs to move on because postseason play begins Tuesday.
UF’s bats plunged into an ice bath and pitching lost its groove versus Arkansas. Florida batters struck out 44 times in 96 at-bats and only mustered seven runs in the series. The Gators pitching staff also allowed 19 runs total.
However, Arkansas averages 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings and only surrenders a 3.9 ERA to opponents. It also sits toward the top of the NCAA rankings in runs scored despite a pedestrian .276 batting average.
Florida has already faced the Wildcats in a three-game series in Lexington, Kentucky this season. It won the last two games after UF dropped the first one 7-5.
Sophomore outfielder Jud Fabian hit four for nine, including two homers in the second game of the series. Sophomore Kendrick Calilao only saw action in the final two games, but he went four for six and five RBI.
Kentucky’s catcher Coltyn Kessler was the only Wildcats batter who recorded a hit in each game. He finished the series four for 12.
The first pitch between Florida and Kentucky is slated for 10:30 a.m. EDT and can be seen on SEC Network.
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