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Tuesday, September 27, 2022
<div><p class="m_5171314137128182806x_MsoNormal">Kevin O’Sullivan meets with umpires before Florida’s 5-4 win against William &amp; Mary on Feb. 17, 2017, at McKethan Stadium.</p></div>

Kevin O’Sullivan meets with umpires before Florida’s 5-4 win against William & Mary on Feb. 17, 2017, at McKethan Stadium.

The Florida baseball team didn’t have much to smile about on Saturday afternoon during the semifinals of the SEC Tournament.

Facing Arkansas on the road at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium, the Gators were walloped by the Razorbacks in a 16-0 loss.

Starting pitcher Brady Singer didn’t make it past the second inning after surrendering three homers and eight runs, and UF’s offense was unable to muster more than two hits in the shutout defeat.

After the game, however, coach Kevin O’Sullivan was unconcerned, noting Florida had a much more important set of games to prepare for this upcoming week: the NCAA Tournament.

“We’ll bounce back,” he said. “We just need to regroup.”

The Gators (42-16, 21-9 SEC) will open play in the national tournament at 7 p.m. on Friday. They received the No. 3 overall seed of the bracket on Monday afternoon, meaning they’ll host both the regional and super regional round of the competition.

UF is matched up with South Florida, Bethune-Cookman and Marist in the Gainesville Regional, a double-elimination-style round that Florida has won six of the past eight years.

If Florida proceeds to the super regional, it will face either Wake Forest, West Virginia, Maryland or UMBC in a best-of-three series to advance to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Gators have reached the College World Series 10 times in program history, including five times in the last seven years under O’Sullivan.

Before its blowout defeat against Arkansas on Saturday, UF had won 16 of its previous 18 games and outscored its opponents 137-87 over that stretch.

Florida’s offense has received a large boost in recent weeks from junior catcher JJ Schwarz and senior outfielder Ryan Larson.

Schwarz has hit .382 with 15 RBIs and four home runs since April 30, showing flashes of the power he displayed during his freshman campaign when he led the Gators in homers, RBIs and slugging percentage.

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For Larson, the Orlando native is 16-for-53 in May and has reached base in 18 consecutive games.

However, Larson had to leave Friday afternoon’s contest against Mississippi State after taking a pitch to the head that caused a “slight fracture” in his skull, according to UF’s coach.

Pitcher/outfielder Nick Horvath and shortstop Dalton Guthrie are also nursing injuries, leading O’Sullivan to emphasize the importance of “getting healthy” ahead of Friday night’s contest against Marist.

“We obviously won’t play anybody unless they’re 100 percent,” he said. “It’s been a long year for everybody with all the injuries.”

A video posted to Floridagators.com contributed to this report.

Contact Dylan Dixon at ddixon@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @dylanrdixon.

Kevin O’Sullivan meets with umpires before Florida’s 5-4 win against William & Mary on Feb. 17, 2017, at McKethan Stadium.

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