Jackets eliminated by Florida at NCAA regional

Florida left little doubt regarding the identity of the best team in the Gainesville, Fla., NCAA regional. The Gators closed out the regional Sunday evening with a 10-1 defeat of Georgia Tech, giving the Yellow Jackets their second loss in the four-team, double-elimination pool.

The Jackets’ pitching depth – submarined by the loss of three expected starters either before the season or at the beginning – was laid bare by Florida. The Gators rifled through eight Tech pitchers, banged out 12 hits and drew nine walks.

Tech, meanwhile, was no-hit through the first 4 1/3 innings by Alex Faedo and struck out 11 times in the game.

Tech’s season ended at the regional round for the eighth time in the past 10 seasons; the Jackets missed the NCAA tournament the other two seasons. This was the seventh time in the eight regional defeats that the Jackets were the runners-up. It was the 20th NCAA appearance for coach Danny Hall in his 23 seasons at Tech.

Tech (38-25) had won two elimination games prior to Sunday night, ousting Bethune-Cookman Saturday afternoon and Connecticut Sunday afternoon before taking on Florida (50-13), the tournament’s top overall seed.

After using ace Brandon Gold against Bethune-Cookman on Saturady and going long with star reliever Matthew Gorst against Connecticu Sunday afternoon, Hall’s best options were unavailable for Florida. He went with Cole Pitts, who came into the game with a 6.63 ERA. Pitts hung on until the fifth. There, he gave up a two-out single to Jonathan India, at which point Hall brought in Keyton Gibson. Gibson gave up back-to-back doubles to Peter Alonso and JJ Schwarz to increase the lead to 3-0.

Florida added four more in the sixth on three singles, two walks, an error and a sacrifice bunt and a final two in the top of the ninth. Pitts (3-4) took the loss in his final collegiate appearance.

Florida will advance to play Florida State in a super-regional to be held in Gainesville next weekend.