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UF Baseball: No. 13 Florida Falls to No. 4 Tennessee in SEC Tournament Semifinals

Photo by Michael Wade

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY DENVER PARLER

No. 13 Florida fell in the Southeastern Conference Tournament semifinals to fourth-ranked Tennessee, 4-0. The Gators (38-20) finished the week at Hoover with a 3-1 record, marking the fifth time the Gators have won three or more games at the SEC Tournament under head coach Kevin O’Sullivan.

Tennessee (45-15) got on the board in the top of the third with Evan Russell’s two-out, bases-loaded base hit, but Jacob Young gunned down Jake Rucker at home trying to score from second to limit the damage. UT added two more in the fourth and another in the seventh, pushing its lead to 4-0.

Christian Scott was strong out of the bullpen for the Gators, allowing just one hit and charged with one run in 3.0 innings pitched, and the Gators got two hits with none out in the ninth to give themselves an opportunity to rally.

Florida starter Brandon Sproat was saddled with the loss, surrendering three runs in 3.2 innings pitched and striking out four.

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NOTABLES

  *   Florida won three games in the SEC Tournament this week, reaching that mark for the fifth time (2011, 2014, 2015, 2016) under Kevin O’Sullivan.

FROM HEAD COACH KEVIN O’SULLIVAN

Opening statement…
“First, congratulations to Tennessee for moving on to the championship. (Tennessee starter) Christian Sewell did a nice job, a little bit of a different look, some sink, mid-80s fastball, breaking ball, I think our timing was a little bit off. We felt like we hit with two strikes a ton today, and it was just one of those days. But we’ll go back home tonight – we’ve been on the road for I think ten days now – get ready for the selection show on Monday and have a really good week of practice.”

On how the team has been playing leading into the NCAA Tournament…
“Starting pitching has been outstanding all week. We swung the bats some, I think we learned a lot about our team. Getting Mac (Guscette) back behind the plate solidified somethings behind the plate, made the decision to put Nathan (Hickey) at third. So I think we learned a lot about our team over the past 10 days, and I think it puts us in a much better position moving forward for a regional.

UP NEXT
The Gators will learn their NCAA Tournament draw on Monday, May 31, with the selection show airing at noon on ESPN2. Regionals will take place Friday, June 4, through Monday, June 7.

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