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April 20, 2013

Gator comeback sinks Tigers



The Tigers dropped a tough one, 8-6, against the visiting No. 19 Florida Gators Friday night.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Tigers got Josh Lester on with one out, but Jake Ivory and Dillon Everett struck out looking consecutively to end the game.

"[Florida closer Johnny Magliozzi] made a couple good pitches. I thought that last pitch was down and out, but that's how it works," Everett said.

The game was a surprisingly offensive affair, with the two clubs combining for 30 hits against the each other's number one starter.

Florida ignited the scoring with a single run in the top of the first thanks to a Justin Shafer bloop single, but the Tigers responded with four runs in the bottom of the inning. The first four Tigers reached base and Dane Opel and Kendall Keeton knocked in RBI singles to make the score 2-1. Later in the inning, a Kendall Keeton fielder's choice and Josh Lester single would plate two more runners, making it 4-1 Tigers.

"We forced a mistake," Opel said. "We got a couple balls to fall our way."

After the first inning, Florida Starter Jonathon Crawford settled in, allowing no more runs in the ensuing four and two-thirds innings while striking out four batters.

"[Crawford] dialed in a little bit. He had good stuff," Opel said.

Florida chipped away at the early 4-1 Tiger lead with one run in the fourth inning, and took the lead for good with three runs in the top of the fifth.

The Florida fifth inning was highlighted by three extra-base hits, including a Casey Turgeon homer over the right field wall.

Mizzou starter Rob Zastryzny's night would end the following inning, after allowing another run, making it 6-4 Gators.

Florida capitalized with two outs. The Gators scored runs with two away in five of their six scoring innings.

"Just not the killer instinct I am used to having. Nobody gets two-out hits off me," Zastryzny said.

The Tigers scored two in the eighth inning to draw within 8-6, including Opel's second RBI single of the game.

In the top of the ninth, Opel, one of the lone Tiger bright spots, threw a runner out at home for his team-leading 11th outfield assist in just the 33rd game of the season.

"I kinda picked a ball that was pretty tough [to field] and got a good throw on it," Opel said.

Despite the loss, the Tigers hit well, registering 12 hits on the evening.

"We score six runs, 12 hits, we'll take that," manager Tim Jamieson said

Despite the strong offensive effort, the Tigers dropped to 12-21, and 4-12 in Southeastern Conference play.

"That's baseball sometimes. I thought we played well, but, all that matters is getting a [win] at the end of the day," Everett said.

Game two of the three game series is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Taylor Stadium.

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