Brady McConnell

Shortstop Brady McConnell hit a two-out RBI single that brought in two runs in Game 1 of the SEC Tournament 

The Gators were two innings away from advancing past Texas A&M in Game 1 of the SEC Tournament and all but assuring themselves of a spot in next week's NCAA Tournament.

They entered the bottom of the eighth with a 5-3 lead,  but that lead quickly dwindled when the Aggies scored four runs to go up 7-5.

UF stormed back in the top of the ninth to tie, but a walk-off single by Texas A&M left fielder Jonathan Ducoff during the 10th inning gave his team the 8-7 victory at the Hoover Metropolitan Complex in Hoover, Alabama, on Tuesday.

A&M (37-19-1, 16-13-1 SEC) started the scoring in the bottom of the third, plating three runs behind an RBI sacrifice fly by first baseman Hunter Coleman and an RBI single from catcher Mikey Hoehner.

The Aggies didn't score again until the eighth, with UF starter Tommy Mace shutting them down the rest of his outing.

Mace went 6.2 innings, giving up three runs on four hits while striking out six on the day. He allowed no runs and just three hits outside of the third inning.

Florida (33-24, 13-17 SEC) cut the deficit to one in the top of the fifth when shortstop Brady McConnell hit a two-out RBI single with the bases loaded that brought home two runs. The team tied the game during the next inning after A&M starter Asa Lacy walked Gators second baseman Jacob Young with the bases loaded, scoring catcher Brady Smith.

Lacy and reliever Bryce Miller stopped the threat as Florida didn't score another run during the frame.

A&M's starter went 5.2 innings, allowing three runs on four hits and striking out eight Gators.

UF grabbed its first lead of the game in the top of the eighth inning when right fielder Wil Dalton hit an RBI triple to score Smith. First baseman Kendrick Calilao followed with a sac fly to center field that scored Dalton.

The lead was short lived.

A&M used two long balls to plate four in the bottom of the eighth, highlighted by Ducoff's two-out, three-run shot to left off Florida reliever Jordan Butler.

The Gators managed to rally and score two in the top half of the ninth with RBI base-hits from left fielder Austin Langworthy and designated hitter Nelson Maldonado.

The game remained tied until the bottom of the 10th when Ducoff burned UF again, knocking a single to left center and advancing his team to tomorrow's matchup with Georgia.

"They were just a little bit better than us today," coach Kevin O'Sullivan said in a release. "We made some mistakes. Credit our hitters though, they battled against some of the best pitching in our league."

Florida will now wait to see if its name will be called on Monday for the 12th consecutive year during the NCAA Selection Show.

"That's for the committee to decide," O'Sullivan said. "You've got some smart people making these decisions and at the end of the day, I like our team, simple as that."

Follow Evan Lepak on Twitter @evanmplepak and contact him at [email protected].

Evan Lepak is a Sports Journalism student at the University of Florida. Evan is the assistant sports editor and is currently covering UF men's basketball. He has been with the Alligator since Summer 2018.