Gator Baseball Season Ends in Hoover
Mike Cisco pitched seven strong innings, Travis Jones hit a two-run single and South Carolina beat Florida 5-3 Friday to stay alive in the Southeastern Conference tournament and end the Gators' season.
The Gamecocks (42-17) face Arkansas on Saturday, needing to win twice to advance to the championship game against a team that has outscored opponents 12-0 in the tournament.
The loss gave the Gators (29-30) a losing record, making them ineligible for an NCAA regional. They have failed to make a regional the past two years after advancing to the College World Series championship game in 2005.
Cisco (6-2) allowed only one hit after the first inning, striking out eight and walking one. He worked around an error and a walk to retire 13 of the last 15 batters he faced.
The Gators nearly mounted a rally in the ninth. Josh Jeffords issued a pair of two-out walks and gave up Cole Figueroa's RBI single, but Avery Barnes grounded out to third to end the game.
Florida got off to a promising start. SEC player of the year Matt LaPorta got his first hit of the tournament with a two-run homer in the first.
But South Carolina scored three in the second, capped by Jones' two-run single off Patrick Keating, who was making his first college start.
Figueroa had three of the Gators' five hits, all singles.
LaPorta and cleanup batter Brian Leclerc went a combined 2-for-20 in three tournament games for the Gators, who managed just nine runs.
Keating (3-2) allowed five runs, three earned, in 5-1/3 innings.
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