'The wheels fell off' on Sunday for the Gators. UF lost to Miami 16-2 and Riley Cooper was ejected.
GAINESVILLE -- I was at all three games this weekend to see the No. 12 Florida baseball team get swept by No. 10 Miami, and the main thing I came away with was this: Louisville was overrated.
The Gators [PICTURED] started getting some hype after they swept the then-No. 8 Cardinals last weekend, but the smackdown from the Hurricanes is a clear message that UF has a little work to do before people start scoping out flights to Omaha.
Here's a quick recap of the three games:
Friday: Miami wins 8-5. The Gators touch up UM ace Chris Hernandez for four runs in five innings, but the 'Canes get six against UF's Patrick Keating. Miami's No. 9 hitter, Jonathan Weislow, hit his first two career home runs -- a two-run shot in the third and a three-run blast in the sixth -- off Keating to get the win.
Saturday: Miami wins 2-1. I started this day by watching a 0-0 tie between Arsenal and Fulham in soccer, and I rounded it out with a 2-1 baseball game. What an exciting sports day, right? If only I had squeezed in some hockey. Anyway, UF got a great performance from freshman starter Alex Panteliodis, but Weislow came through again, scoring both of the 'Canes' runs. UM Starter David Gutierrez held UF scoreless through seven innings.
Sunday: Miami wins 16-2. As UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan put it, "Today, the wheels totally fell off." It's hard to argue with that, as Florida gave up 20 hits, a seven-run inning, had a player ejected and didn't have any bright spots on the afternoon. The loss was the Gators' worst since 2006, and it was the first time UM coach Jim Morris has ever swept UF in Gainesville.
The Sunday game was hard to watch. The Gators made three errors -- including two players colliding to drop an infield pop-up -- and were never really in it after giving up seven runs in the fourth inning.
Here's what concerns me the most. For Florida to go far this season, its going to need two things: 1) a legitimate power threat in the lineup and 2) a solid season from the freshmen pitchers to fill out the rotation, and the Gators weren't promising in either category.
Either Matt den Dekker, Josh Adams, Brandon McArthur or Preston Tucker (freshman) is going to have to step up as the big bat, but that doesn't worry me as much as the pitching.
The golden boy of the freshmen -- Nick Maronde -- started on Sunday, and he never seemed in control. He got behind in almost every count, and here's his stat line: 3.2 innings, 6 hits, 7 runs (4 earned), 4 walks, 2 strikeouts and 2 hit batters. Redshirt freshman Justin Poovey didn't fare much better in relief, giving up 4 more in 1.1 innings with two walks and another hit batter.
The Gators never got anything going on offense, as they didn't move a runner past second until the sixth inning, when they plated two runs.
That frame nearly ended in a fight, when right fielder and wide receiver extraordinaire Riley Cooper (PICTURED) slid past second base in an attempt to stop UM's Scott Lawson from turning a double play. For his efforts, the batter was called out and Cooper was ejected.
Then, Cooper shoved Lawson, and Weislow pushed him back on his way back to the dugout from left field. Florida's bench cleared and came onto the field, but luckily, nothing happened.
Naturally, Weislow was pegged in the back (with a slow curve, oddly enough) in the next inning.
I understand the need for retaliation, so I know why UF pitcher Chas Spottswood hit Weislow, but is there anything dumber than that unwritten rule?
If you want to retaliate, throw the first pitch behind the batter or brush him back, then man up and strike him out with the next three pitches. Better yet, run the count to 3-0 and then blow three by him. Have all the position players lay down while you strike him out, too. That way it's super embarrassing.
If you're going to lob one at him and put him on base, doesn't he win?
Anyway, it was a pretty depressing weekend for Florida, and O'Sullivan said there shouldn't be a whole lot for him to tell his team to motivate them after the loss.
"There's not much to tell them," he said. "If they can't figure it out this weekend, I don't know when they will."
The good news is the Gators don't have long to dwell on it. They travel to Stetson on Tuesday before hosting Florida Atlantic on Wednesday, and then they host Duquesne next weekend.
"That's probably the best remedy," O'Sullivan said. "It doesn't give us a whole lot of time to think about it. If you play poorly, this is what happens."