BY DUDLEY E. DAWSON
HOOVER, Ala. – Two college baseball teams in very bad moods will play each other very early on Friday morning.
Third-seeded Arkansas (38-17) and seventh-seeded Florida (37-21) will meet at 9:30 a.m. in an SEC Tournament elimination game at the Hoover Met.
SEC Western Division champion and second-seeded Texas A&M humbled Florida 10-0 Thursday afternoon with the Gators having just one hit in a game that was ended after seven innings due to the run rule.
Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan, whose team beat Arkansas two out of three in Gainesville earlier this season, did not try to hide his disappointment in the loss.
“Well, credit A&M,” O’Sullivan said. “They obviously played very well. Their starting pitcher (Micha Dallas) did a real nice job, kept us off balance.
“But with that being said, we just didn’t play very well in all phases. We didn’t swing the bats very
well. We had a poor approach.
“I think we struck out five of the first nine at-bats, and I think we struck out I think 11
Dallas fanned seven, walked one and allowed only Jac Caglianone’s second-inning single in five innings off work.
“Our approach wasn’t very good, and on the pitching side of
things, we pitched behind the count an awful lot tonight…Somehow we’ve got to put this one behind us and get ready to play tomorrow.”
Arkansas will trying to do the same after falling to Alabama 4-3 on Wednesday afternoon and having Thursday off.
The Razorbacks have lost four of their last 6 games, including three in row to the Crimson Tide.
O’Sullivan expects a different effort from his team on Friday.
“Not a whole lot to say,” O’Sullivan said. “We were not very good in all phases, honestly. We got beat handily today, it’s just that simple. But there’s no pressure tomorrow. We’ve just got to play better, simple as that.”
The Gators, who beat South Carolina 2-1 on Tuesday, plan to start redshirt sophomore righty Nick Pogue (3-3, 4.91) on the mound.
Pogue is coming off Tommy John surgery and has pitched 29 1/3 innings while allowing 16 earned runs on 25 hits with 27 strikeouts and nine walks.
Arkansas has not announced its starting pitcher or if head coach Dave Horn will be back with the team after missing Wednesday’s game due to being ill.
O’Sullivan brushed off any notion that weather delays during all three days of the tournament had anything to do with his loss.
“No, I don’t see — both teams were presented with the same scenarios,” O’Sullivan said. “You would think a day off yesterday would probably help us. But both teams had to go through the same thing about not playing last night
and then not playing this yesterday.
“I don’t see that as an excuse at all in any way, shape or form.”
• • •
In Thursday’s other action, top-seeded Tennessee blasted Vanderbilt 10-1 while LSU and Kentucky played the late game.
Vanderbilt will play the LSU-Kentucky loser in an elimination game Friday at 1 p.m.
Texas A&M plays Alabama in a winner’s bracket game at 4:30 and Tennessee will face the Kentucky-LSU winner at 8 in another.
An Arkansas win on Friday will have the Razorbacks playing the Texas A&M-Alabama loser Saturday morning at 9:30.