Gators struggles continue with loss to South Carolina

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – High hopes surrounded the Florida Gators at the outset of the season, ranked No. 2 in the preseason poll. However, 33 games in, they’ve failed to meet those expectations, enduring a 10-3 loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks on Friday, marking their fifth consecutive loss.

Throughout the season, Florida (17-16, 6-7 SEC) has grappled with challenges on offense and defense, and Friday’s game showcased those ongoing struggles.

“It just seems to me like when the game comes calling, there’s times where there’s a lack of competitiveness,” Florida left fielder Tyler Shelnut said. “We went into LSU and took two games… and then (we) go lose to teams that (we’re) equally as good as. That’s competitiveness, man.”

Gators starting pitcher Brandon Neely wasn’t sharp on Friday but kept the Gators in the contest. He allowed the Gamecocks (24-10, 7-6 SEC) to strike first, as Parker Noland homered on a 1-2 count with one out in the top of the first inning.

Mistake pitches summarized Neely’s performance. He allowed five runs on seven hits and threw 105 pitches before exiting the contest with one out in the seventh inning.

The pitching struggles continued into a disastrous ninth inning. Ryan Slater gave up five runs and seven hits as the Gamecocks cycled through their lineup and earned five of their 10 runs for the game in the final inning.

On the offensive side, the Gators’ struggles hitting the ball continued. Besides a two-run homer by star first baseman Jac Caglianone in the seventh and a three-hit night by catcher Tanner Garrison, Florida’s offense was silent and stagnant.

Gators coach Kevin O’Sullivan acknowledged the team’s struggles on both sides of the ball after the game.

“We’ve got to compete more. We’ve got to minimize damage,” O’Sullivan said. “We’ve got to make a pitch here or a pitch there to get out of a situation. We’re still having issues coming up with a big at-bat.”

However, Shelnut said it is not time for the Gators to panic or call it quits and that each individual needs to hold themselves accountable during this stretch.

“Hitting the panic button… It doesn’t work,” he said. “We got to make a choice to either let (adversity) beat you or allow it to make your team stronger.”

With 21 games left in the regular season, O’Sullivan shared a similar sentiment.

“We just have to come back tomorrow and need one or two guys to come up with some big at-bats,” he said. “But at the end of the day, we’ve got to compete more. At some point, this thing (has) got to turn.”

The Gators will look to bounce back when the home series against South Carolina continues at 4 p.m. ET Saturday at Condron Family Ballpark.

Ava Baccari
Ava Baccari
Ava Baccari is a junior undergraduate student at the University of Florida. She is majoring in Journalism with a specialization in Sports and Media. Follow her on X (Twitter) @avabsports.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Articles