It’s being called the 'Romp in the Swamp.’
That is, the matchup between two first-first round draft picks, Florida baseball ace Brady Singer and Auburn stud Casey Mize, in the Gainesville Super Regional. On Monday, Mize was taken first overall by the Detroit Tigers and Singer was drafted 18th by the Kansas City Royals.
They split the two games that the pair had pitched against each other before Saturday at noon, and the rubber match did not disappoint.
The final score was 8-2, but the contest was much closer than the score indicated in McKethan Stadium.
It was a tough beginning for UF starter. Singer said in a the post-game press conference he experienced some hamstring tightness on a comeback single that he fielded awkwardly in the first inning.
The Tigers pounced on the right hander in the second inning.
Singer walked and hit batters to put runners on first and second, Auburn first baseman Josh Anthony poked a single to left field and the Tigers took a 1-0 lead early.
AU doubled its lead in the third inning when a walk, a single and a sacrifice bunt put Tigers on second and third with one out. Designated hitter Edouard Julien singled to center field to tack on the second run, making it 2-0 Auburn.
Through three innings, Singer had 72 pitches and UF coach Kevin O’Sullivan made a visit to the mound.
“I wasn’t coming out,” Singer said.
The junior pitcher came back strong to finish with 119 pitches, 6.2 innings pitched, nine strikeouts, four hits and two earned runs. He got the win in his final game at McKethan Stadium and received a loud standing ovation from thankful Gator fans.
“I’m forever grateful for this place, and I’m really glad to have been a part of it,” Singer said.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Gators’ offense picked up.
After two singles and a walk loaded the bases, right fielder Wil Dalton hit a line drive off the wall in right field and scored two runs to tie the game at 2-2. Two feet higher and it would have been a grand slam.
With runners on first and third, Florida designated hitter Austin Langworthy hit a dribbling ground ball to Anthony. Anthony elected tried to throw out the runner at home, but UF third baseman Jonathan India beat out the play and scored. Langworthy was safe at first with Dalton advancing to second.
Gators first baseman Keenan Bell roped a single to right field to score Dalton and put his team up 4-2.
Bell played well on the afternoon. Going into the game, he was batting .215. He went 2 for 3 with an RBI and a double on the day.
Two innings later, Florida notched two more runs.
After a walk and wild pitch, Dalton found himself on second base and Langworthy walked to put runners on first and second.
Dalton got caught in a pickle after a pitch appeared to hit second baseman Blake Reese, but the umpire called it as a ball.
The right fielder was on his way to third when he got hit by a throw. The ball squirted out past the third baseman and Dalton waltzed to the plate as Langworthy dashed to second.
The next play, Reese reached on an infield single that probably should have been an error. At first base, Anthony received a ground ball for an easy out but botched the throw to Mize. Langworthy scored from second and making the score 6-2.
Mize saw his day end after the inning and possibly pitched in his final game in a Tigers uniform.
The Gators tacked on two more insurance runs from solo home runs throughout the last four innings. Shortstop Deacon Liput pounded a ball to left field in the sixth, Maldonado sent one deep in the bottom of the eighth.
Closer Michael Byrne came on in the eighth to shut the door on the Tigers.
The Gators take on the Tigers again Sunday at noon.