There were handshakes, hugs and some tears during the traditional postgame meeting in left field. What Wake Forest baseball really wanted was a dog pile, water bottles flying and celebrating.
The Deacons lost to Florida 3-0 in Game 3 of the NCAA Baseball Super Regional on Monday night. Their hopes of a trip to College World Series escaped into the humid, Florida night sky.
The difference in the game was the pitching performance off Gator right-hander Tyler Dyson.
Florida led 1-0 thanks to a Mike Rivera RBI single in second inning off Deacon starter John McCarren. Dyson came in to relieve Gator starter Brady Singer in the third inning and was dominant. After giving up a single to Keegan Maronpot, the first batter he faced, the Deacons’ bats went silent thereafter. Dyson retired the next 13 batters before giving up a double to Sheets in the seventh.
“Dyson was the difference today,” Walter said. “He kept coming after us, pitch after pitch after pitch, and we just couldn’t solve him. We knew that it was going to be difficult to score off of Singer and (Alex) Faedo (Florida’s No. 1 pitcher, who came in to relieve Dyson), but we thought we would have some chances off Dyson but he didn’t give us any.”
The meat of the Deacons’ lineup — Stuart Fairchild, Gavin Sheets and Ben Breazeale — went 1-10 against the right-hander.
“His stuff was in the mid- to upper-90s,” Sheets said of Dyson. “When you get to two strikes after locating two good pitches, it makes it really tough to battle back on him. With his secondary stuff being thrown for strikes ,too, give him props for a great effort.”
Prior to Monday’s game, Dyson’s highest pitch count for a game this season was 40 pitches. Against the Deacons, he threw 58.
The rains and some questionable calls followed after Rivera put Florida up 1-0.
Deacon Liput followed Rivera with a single of his own. That put Austin Langworthy at the plate with runners on first and second with no outs. Langworthy hit a routine ball to right field. Keegan Maronpot appeared to make the catch but dropped the ball while transitioning from his glove to his throwing hand. However, first base umpire Randy Sutton signaled that Maronpot didn’t make the catch. Confusion reigned on the bases. Both Riveria and Langworthy stood on first base while Liput was on third. Sutton was called in by home plate umpire Billy Haze to discuss, which eventually led to a video replay. The call was overturned to a catch, which replay clearly showed. What made Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan irate was that Liput was ordered back to second base by Haze. Liput was halfway to third base when the ball was dropped.
Once the second inning was complete, the skies opened up and for the fourth time in the series, the game was delayed by rain. The delay lasted 2 hours, 35 minutes. There was a total of 9 hours, 55 minutes worth of delays during the three-game series.
The Gators increased the 1-0 cushion for Dyson to 3-0 in the bottom of the third. Dalton Guthrie, who made beautiful plays at shortstop throughout the series, led off with a single. He advanced to second on a win pitch, and JJ Schwarz gave the Gators all the insurance they needed with a two-run blast to make it a 3-0 game.