Gainesville, FL - Fourth-seeded Valparaiso (32-27) overcame a 4-1 deficit with four runs in the seventh inning to eliminate third-seeded Florida (29-30), 5-4, from the 2013 NCAA Bloomington Regional on Saturday afternoon at Bart Kaufman Field.
The Crusaders will play the loser of tonight’s winner’s bracket matchup between top-seeded Indiana (44-14) and second-seeded Austin Peay (46-13) on Sunday at 1 p.m. in another elimination game that will be carried on ESPN3.
With the Gators holding a 4-1 advantage, sophomore starter Johnny Magliozzi (East Milton, Mass.) had retired seven-straight Crusaders before senior Billy Cribbs opened the seventh with a single into center field. Junior Bryce Hara worked a walk and senior Andrew Bain blooped a single into left center that loaded the bags and prompted a pitching change.
Junior Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) came in for Magliozzi (6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 6 K, 3 BB) and an error by sophomore third baseman Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) on a grounder by sophomore Spencer Mahoney (1-for-3, two runs) enabled Cribbs to score for a 4-2 count. A walk to senior Tanner Vavra brought home Hara and another free pass to senior John Loeffler scored Bain with the tying run.
Sophomore Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) replaced Gibson (2-1) and a fielder’s choice by junior Chris Manning to second base drove in Mahoney for a 5-4 advantage for Valparaiso. After Manning stole second base, Harris fanned redshirt junior Andy Burns and had sophomore Mark Johnson foul out to freshman Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) in left field to hold the Gators’ deficit at one run.
Tobias (4-for-4) set a career-best with his fourth hit of the outing, a one-out single in the eighth inning into left field off of senior Kyle Wormington (6-7) and redshirt sophomore Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) followed with a walk. The righty responded with a strikeout of freshman pinch hitter Christian Dicks (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Burns made a tremendous defensive play at third base to retire freshman Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) and keep the Crusaders in front.
With the Gators down to their final three outs in the ninth, sophomore Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) started the frame with a walk and sophomore Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) (3-for-5) stroked a single into left field. Senior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position and Wormington countered with a strikeout of sophomore Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.). Bader (2-for-5, two runs) battled in his at bat but grounded out to third base to complete the contest.
Martin had opened the game with a single into center field and Turgeon walked on four pitches to put the Gators in business. However, senior right-hander Chris DeBoo (5.0 IP, 10 H, 4 R) worked out of the jam by striking out Shafer and having Ramjit and Gushue pop up.
Mahoney had provided Valparaiso with a quick lead in the home part of the frame with a one-out homer off of Magliozzi in the first inning. It was his first career round-tripper and was carried out of the park over the left-field fence by the swirling winds. Magliozzi countered with two strikeouts to finish the frame with three punch-outs.
Although Valparaiso loaded the bases with two down in the second inning, Magliozzi was able to put a zero on the board. Junior Elliott Martin had stroked a one-out double down the right-field line and Johnson grounded out to hold the runner. A wild pitch enabled Martin to take third base and Cribbs drew a walk before Hara was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Magliozzi induced an inning-ending grounder by Bain that kept the Gators down by just a run.
UF mounted a two-out rally in the third, as Shafer singled through the left side of the infield and Ramjit was plunked. DeBoo jammed Gushue on an infield fly to complete the stanza.
The Crusaders threatened again in the bottom of the stanza, putting runners on the corners with one down, but were unable to score. Mahoney started things off with a free pass and was sacrificed to second base on a bunt by Vavra. After Loeffler deposited a base-hit into right field that pushed Mahoney to third base, Magliozzi struck out Manning and Shafer made a running catch in foul territory on a fly ball by Martin to close the inning.
Florida erupted for five hits in the fourth, highlighted by a game-tying double by Tobias and a two-run double by senior Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.), to seize a 3-1 advantage. Bader led off with an infield single to raise his hitting streak to a career-high nine games and Tobias followed with his fifth two-bagger of the campaign to tie the contest. Powers sliced a single into right field that nudged Tobias to third base and Dent delivered a bases-clearing double to put the Orange and Blue on top. It was his third double and fourth extra-base hit of the season. After Martin popped up a bunt attempt, Turgeon poked a base-hit into right field to give Florida runners on the corners with one down. DeBoo prevented further issues by having Shafer ground into a 6-3 double play.
The Gators tacked on another run in the fifth inning on a two-out RBI single by Tobias for a 4-1 lead. With two down, Bader singled into right field and notched his team-leading 15th stolen base. Tobias then matched his career high of three hits in an outing with a base-knock into left field to give UF a three-run margin.
· Today was the first meeting on the diamond between the Gators and the Crusaders.
· Florida had a 13-6 advantage in hits, with multiple-hit outings from sophomore Josh Tobias (4-for-4), sophomore Justin Shafer (3-for-5) and freshman Harrison Bader (2-for-5).
· UF completed its sixth-consecutive NCAA Tournament under Kevin O’Sullivan by going 0-2 at the Bloomington Regional.
· The Gators left 11 runners on base this afternoon.
· Valparaiso turned a pair of double plays in the victory.
· Bader and classmate Richie Martin each reached base in the Gators’ final 18 games of the season