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Gainesville Regional - Elimination Game - Gainesville, Florida

Florida's season ends with loss to South Alabama

12 days ago
SEC Network
Photo: Florida Athletics

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Both of their games ran long due to lengthy weather delays, but the host Gators made a quick exit in the Gainesville Regional.

Third-seed South Alabama's lineup ensured that Saturday afternoon in a 19-1 win at Florida Ballpark to end Florida's season.

The Jaguars (34-22) pounded the Gators for 21 hits, including 10 in a row during a 10-run sixth inning that erased any doubt whether No. 1-seed Florida (38-22), a No. 15 national seed, had a rally left in its tank following a loss to South Florida on Friday.

That became apparent early in Saturday's matchup with the Jaguars. Shut out Friday night by Miami, South Alabama led the Gators 4-1 when the bottom of the sixth inning started behind a solid outing from starter Miles Smith, who allowed one run, five hits and struck out five in his 82-pitch outing. And then a close game turned into a rout.

Franco Aleman, expected to start on Sunday if the Gators advanced, came out of the bullpen and retired two of the first three batters in the inning before the hits started pouring from the sky like the rain that arrived the next inning.

When the inning was finally over, South Alabama had sent 14 batters to the plate against Aleman and reliever Brandon Sproat, recording nine singles and a double in the frame.

The inning underscored a disappointing end to the 2021 season for the Gators, who opened the season as the consensus No. 1 team in the country but struggled with injuries and inconsistency.

Florida's 5-3 loss to South Florida on Friday dropped the Gators into the loser's bracket. And Saturday's defeat, the most lopsided postseason loss for the program in head coach Kevin O'Sullivan's 14 seasons, marked only the sixth time in program history the Gators have gone 0-2 in regional play, and first time since 2014.

Signs surfaced quickly that it might not be the Gators' day.

With Florida the visiting team in its home ballpark, outfielder Jacob Young was thrown out at the plate in the top of the first trying to score on a fly out by Jud Fabian. And in the bottom of the first, UF starter Hunter Barco lasted only 1/3 of an inning, facing only five batters and falling behind 2-0 before being replaced by Jack Leftwich.

The Gators trimmed South Alabama's lead to 2-1 in the top of the third on Mac Guscette's RBI sacrifice fly.

The Sun Belt Conference Tournament-champion Jaguars struck back with a pair of runs in the fifth on Cameron Tissue's two-run double. The next inning is when the floodgates opened, and to add to the Gators' misery, a weather delay halted play for 1 hour, 50 minutes in the bottom of the seventh with South Alabama leading 19-1 after hitting three home runs in the inning before rain and lightning forced the teams off the field.

The Florida-USF game Friday afternoon was delayed 2 hours, 18 minutes due to weather.

Jaguars first baseman Kaleb DeLaTorre had four hits and leadoff hitter Santi Montiel added a team-high five RBI, including a three-run homer two batters prior to the weather delay that began at 3:10 p.m.

Up Next

While Florida's season is over, South Alabama advanced to face the loser of the Miami-USF game in an elimination game on Sunday afternoon.