Gainesville, FL - One bad inning was enough to hand Buck Farmer and No. 2 seed Georgia Tech a postseason defeat Saturday. Mike Zunino homered to give top-seed Florida the lead for good during a three-run fourth inning as the Gators picked up a 6-2 victory in the Gainesville Regional at McKethan Stadium.
Tech (37-25), which had its six-game winning streak snapped, will play the College of Charleston in an elimination game Sunday at 12:00 p.m. Florida, ranked No. 1 in the country by Baseball America and is the No. 1 overall seed, plays the winner of that game at 6:00 p.m.
Farmer pitched seven innings and allowed just five hits, but struggled in the fourth and that was enough for Florida (44-18). Zunino, one of the top professional prospects in the country, launched a solo home run to start the inning and tie the game at 1-1. After Farmer hit Daniel Pigott with a pitch, Casey Turgeon and Justin Shafer had consecutive singles, the last of which chased home a run, and later, Vickash Ramjit had a sacrifice fly to make it 4-1.
The junior right-hander, who fell to 8-4, struck out five and walked three in a 116-pitch effort.
"I thought Buck was outstanding as well, but give Florida's hitters credit," Tech assistant coach Tom Kinkelaar told ramblinwreck.com. "They hit some good pitches that Buck threw.”
Tech jumped on top first facing Florida ace Hudson Randall. In the bottom of the second, the Yellow Jackets strung together three consecutive singles and Mott Hyde's chased home Daniel Palka and made it a 1-0 game.
Farmer gave it right back in the third. Ramjit stretched a single into a double to start the frame, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored the tying run on Nolan Fontana’s sacrifice fly.
While the Gators got to Farmer, Tech put runners on base all game, but had trouble scoring against Randall (8-2) and reliever Steven Rodriguez. Randall allowed eight hits and Rodriguez allowed four in 3 1/3 innings of work, but Tech left nine men on base, five in scoring position.
"Our hitters have been very aggressive and have put ourselves into good situations," said Kinkelaar. "We got those situations tonight, but we just couldn't come up with that big hit.”
The teams reached the winner’s bracket game with wins Friday. Tech got 5 1/3 innings of three-hit relief from Dusty Isaacs and Jake Davies and Brandon Thomas each hit a three-run home run to help beat College of Charleston, 8-4, but the big news on day one came from Florida starter Jonathon Crawford.
Crawford, a sophomore right-hander, tossed the seventh no-hitter in postseason history, facing the minimum in the Gators’ 4-0 victory over Mid-Eastern Athletic conference champion Bethune-Cookman. Crawford allowed just a third-inning walk and struck out five in a 98-pitch effort.