Wednesday night, the Gators lost 10-6 to LSU in their opening game of the SEC Tournament at Hoover, Ala. Today at 1:30pm ET, the Gators (40-14) will play No. 4 seed Arkansas (40-17), with the loser eliminated from the tournament. Incredibly, UF is now 1-5 in the SEC Tournament under coach Kevin O'Sullivan.
The Gators were immediately in trouble when pitcher Brian Johnson (5-4) allowed five runs in the 2nd inning. He only lasted 3.2 innings, allowing seven runs on nine hits and three walks. Johnson needs ground ball outs to survive, but as soon as LSU (37-20) started spraying line drives, Johnson got shaky. It didn't help that UF couldn't defend bunts and catcher Ben McMahan struggled defensively replacing Mike Zunino.
You can count the game as not UF playing bad, but LSU finally looking like the team that was supposed to contend for a title. After Johnson was removed, LSU got ten more hits and was aggressive, bunting guys over and moving the runners.
Neither UF or Arkansas has announced their starter for Thursday's game. But Arkansas used a non-starter in their opening round game loss to Vanderbilt. It could be a matchup of No. 1 starters; UF's Alex Panteliodis (8-2, 3.32) and Arkansas' Drew Smyly (8-1, 2.58). The two last met on April 23 in Gainesville, with Panteliodis taking the loss in an 8-3 Arkansas win.