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Gators' season ends with second loss to Southern Miss

GAINESVILLE -- Well, that five-run lead in the third inning didn't hold. The Gators lost to Southern Miss 7-6 in the second game of the double-elimination Gainesville super regional on Sunday night. UF lost to USM 9-7 on Saturday. Florida ended its season with a record of 42-22 and the Southern Miss Golden Eagles (40-24) advanced to their first College World Series in school history.

Southern Miss scored three runs in the eighth inning to take a 7-6 lead. UF freshman Preston Tucker singled with one out in the top of the ninth inning but UF second baseman Josh Adams grounded into a double play on the next at-bat to end the game.

CHECK MONDAY MORNING'S SPORTS SECTION IN THE MIAMI HERALD FOR A GAME STORY.

No need to criticize the Gators here on this blog for Monday's loss. UF had a fine season in coach Kevin O'Sullivan's second year on the job. Florida won 34 games in O'Sullivan's first season, so UF's baseball stock is on the rise.

The Gators return several talented freshman pitchers next season, including Nick Maronde, Alex Panteliodis and Anthony DeSclafani. Offensively the 2010 UF baseball team will be led by sophomore-to-be first baseman Preston Tucker, who set the Gators single-season RBI record (85) this year. One of the nation's best recruiting classes should account for the loss of upperclassmen Brandon McArthur (third base), Stephen Locke (ace pitcher) and Patrick Keating (pitcher).

UF could lose centerfielder Matt den Dekker of Fort Lauderdale and closer Billy Bullock to the 2009 MLB amateur draft, which takes place June 9-10.

--Florida is leading Southern Miss 6-1 in the fourth inning here at McKethan Stadium. A quick PSA. If Florida wins tonight, then Monday's game will be played at 1 p.m.

--A freshman is starting today for the Gators against Southern Miss but it isn't Alex Panteliodis or Anthony DeSclafani. Left-handed pitcher Nick Maronde gets the start today for the Gators in what could be UF's final game of the season.

If you read my game story of Saturday's opener of the double-elimination Gainesville super regional(CLICK ME), then you already know that I postulated incorrectly about today's starting pitcher. Since Panteliodis and DeSclafani started for UF in the regional, I only assumed one them would start today. But no. Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan pulled a fast one today and is starting Maronde, who last started for the Gators during the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament.

Maronde lasted 2 and 1/3 innings in the Gators' second loss to Arkansas in Hoover. Well see if he's any better today.

-jo-

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