GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida came up short in the final game of the 2022 regular season, falling to South Carolina by a final score of 4-1 at Condron Family Ballpark. Despite the loss, the Gators (35-20, 15-15 SEC) finish tied for second in the SEC East and will play No. 10 seed South Carolina on Tuesday as the No. 7 seed in the SEC Baseball Tournament.
The Gamecocks (27-27, 13-17 SEC) scored first in the finale, with Josiah Sightler connecting on a solo home run with two outs in the opening frame. South Carolina extended its lead to 2-0 in the second inning when Colin Burgess drove in Braylen Wimmer with an RBI single to center.
The Gators got one run back in the bottom of the second. Ty Evans reached on an infield single and advanced to second on a throwing error by Wimmer. With two outs, Colby Halter came through with an RBI single to right field to cut the deficit to one.
In the top of the third, South Carolina pushed ahead, 3-1. After the first two batters of the inning grounded out to shortstop Josh Rivera, Sightler hit his second home run of the game with a line-drive shot into the right field bullpen.
Following Sightler’s second long ball, Florida starter Nick Pogue settled in and retired the next 12 batters in order. As a result, the right-hander churned out scoreless frames in the fourth through the sixth, raising his strikeout total to six.
Pogue recorded the first out of the seventh on a lineout to left field, but was then lifted after plunking Matt Hogan. As reliever Tyler Nesbitt began his warm-up tosses, play was halted due to lightning and the ensuing delay lasted a total of 2 hours and 25 minutes before the game resumed at 6:30 p.m.
Right-handed reliever Blake Purnell took over following the weather stoppage. South Carolina added to its lead in the top of the seventh, as Evan Stone drove in Hogan on a bunt single to first base to make it a 4-1 ballgame – which ultimately marked the extent of the scoring.
Pogue (3-3) received the loss, allowing four earned runs across 6 1/3 innings with five hits allowed and six strikeouts.
Gamecocks reliever Cade Austin earned the win, pitching three innings with one unearned run allowed on two hits and two walks. He struck out one.
South Carolina starting pitcher Will Sanders pitched just one inning, allowing zero runs on two walks while striking out three.
- Seven Gators were recognized on Saturday as part of the pregame Senior Day festivities: first baseman/designated hitter Kris Armstrong, first baseman Kendrick Calilao, outfielder Jud Fabian, right-handed pitcher Hunter McMullen, right-handed pitcher Garrett Milchin, right-handed pitcher Nick Pogue and catcher BT Riopelle.
- The Gators finished with a 35-20 regular season record and a 15-15 mark in SEC play, tying for second in the SEC East with Georgia.
- As the No. 7 seed in the SEC Tournament, Florida will play No. 10 seed South Carolina on Tuesday following the conclusion of the 10:30 a.m. ET game.
- Florida is now 50-51 all-time vs. South Carolina including a 29-16 mark at home.
- The Gators are 28-19 vs. the Gamecocks under head coach Kevin O’Sullivan including 16-5 at home.
- Florida has won 15 of the last 23 meetings.
- Florida has won 10 of its last 12 games and 12 of its last 15.
- Thompson extended his on-base streak to 25 games.
- Langford extended his on-base streak to 17 games, although his 11-game hitting streak came to an end.
- Florida issued zero walks on Saturday while South Carolina walked nine batters.
FROM HEAD COACH KEVIN O’SULLIVAN
On the feel of the game …
“I thought we hit the balls hard, we just didn’t come up with a timely hit. Really weird box score that I’m looking at… We got walked nine times. We didn’t walk anybody. Baseball is a weird game sometimes. Today had that weird feel. I think we were just one hit away from maybe trying to open it up. Credit to South Carolina’s pitchers. They did a nice job and kept us off balance. We lost our legs quite a bit of times today at crucial spots.”
On the upcoming game vs. South Carolina…
“That’s just the way it worked out. That’s happened before. We’ll be ready to play Tuesday against South Carolina. I’m sure we’ll see Sanders again. Let’s move on from there.”
On finishing the season strong…
“I’m proud of them. It could have went the other way, too. I don’t know in my 15 years that we’ve been six games under at any point in SEC play. That was with only 12 to go. The way they rallied, the way they played, the way they were able to pick each other up and stay the course… I’m really thrilled with where they’re at. Obviously, today is disappointing but at the same time, in the big picture they put us in position to make the postseason now. I like the way we’re playing.”
No. 7 seed Florida travels to Hoover, Ala. for a Tuesday matchup against No. 10 seed South Carolina at the SEC Tournament. The game will begin following the conclusion of the 9:30 a.m. ET matchup between Georgia and Alabama.