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Saturday, December 04, 2021
<p>Coach Kevin O'Sullivan and the Gators dropped their first home game since March 23 in an 8-4 loss against Jacksonville Tuesday night. “We’ve gotta clean up some mistakes,” O'Sullivan said. </p>

Coach Kevin O'Sullivan and the Gators dropped their first home game since March 23 in an 8-4 loss against Jacksonville Tuesday night. “We’ve gotta clean up some mistakes,” O'Sullivan said. 

No. 1 Florida (32-7, 12-3 SEC) fell to Jacksonville 8-4, ending UF’s nine-game home winning streak and snapping a four-game winning streak overall.

“We’ve gotta clean up some mistakes,” coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “But it was good to get (Austin) Langworthy, (Nick) Horvath back out there and get some experience with those younger guys.”

The Dolphins’ 3-4-5 hitters were the Achilles heel of the Gators’ pitching staff.

Shortstop Scott Dubrule, third baseman Angel Camacho and first baseman John Cassala — who were all hitting over .300 before Tuesday night’s game — torched UF in the batter’s box.

The three went a combined 5-for-14 with five RBIs, mostly off the bat of Cassala. He also iced the game with a two-run shot to left field off Nick Horvath in the seventh.

In addition to solid at-bats from JU, Florida struggled to find a rhythm on the hill, going through five different pitchers against Jacksonville (25-13, 6-3 A-Sun).

Freshman Jack Leftwich got the starting nod for the Gators, giving up three runs on two hits, three walks and three strikeouts in 3.1 innings of work.

O’Sullivan said Leftwich was on a pitch count to preserve him for UF’s weekend series against Kentucky.

Austin Langworthy, Horvath, Hunter McMullen and Connor Churchill also took the mound on Tuesday night.

Combined, Florida’s relievers gave up five runs on 11 hits and managed to strike out only three JU batters.

The decision to go with Langworthy, who has seen very limited action this season on the hill, was because of the contrast between him and Leftwich.

“(Leftwich) is throwing 92-94, and you’ve got a lefty (in Langworthy) throwing 80-82 and low 70s offspeed,” O’Sullivan said. “We thought maybe he could get away with an inning or two which obviously didn’t work out.”

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On offense, not much happened for Florida other than a solo home run from right fielder Wil Dalton in the bottom of the second.

After that, Dalton’s bat went cold, stranding more than half of the 13 Gators runners left on base.

Second baseman Blake Reese and third baseman Jonathan India drove in runs through separate fielder’s choices.

India extended his hitting streak to 24 games with an RBI double to left, plating the last run of the game for Florida. He went 2-for-4 and finished the night with a .438 average on the season.

“I’m really not trying to think about (the hitting streak),” he said. “I’d rather win as a team and succeed as a player.”

Florida will now pack its bags and head to Lexington as the Kentucky Wildcats will host the Gators for a three-game series starting Thursday.

“I do think this weekend is gonna be difficult,” O’Sullivan said. “They’re always very good offensively in their own ballpark and the weather is not gonna be kind to us again. We’re gonna have some things we’re gonna have to battle through.”

Follow Justin Ahlum on Twitter @justinn_case1 and contact him at jahlum@alligator.org.

Coach Kevin O'Sullivan and the Gators dropped their first home game since March 23 in an 8-4 loss against Jacksonville Tuesday night. “We’ve gotta clean up some mistakes,” O'Sullivan said. 

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