HOOVER - For the third time in six days, Auburn's baseball team had no answers for Florida's pitchers. And for the third time, the result was the same.
Ryan Tella gathers in a flyball in centerfield Tuesday/Todd Van Emst photo
Starter Jonathon Crawford and three relievers held the injury-riddled Auburn lineup to three hits Tuesday and Florida won 6-1 in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament at Regions Park.
The Gators won 6-0 on a three-hitter last Thursday and 10-1 on a two-hitter last Friday at Plainsman Park. Auburn won 5-4 on Saturday.
Auburn, the No. 10 seed, plays the loser of Tuesday's late game between No. 5 seed Vanderbilt and No. 9 seed Georgia in an elimination game at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday
The Tigers fell to 30-27 on the season with the loss. Florida, the No. 3 seed, improved to 41-16.
Dan Glevenyak's ninth-inning double was the only Auburn hit that left the infield Tuesday. Ryan Tella had a bunt single and Bobby Andrews bat out a slow roller.
Auburn coach John Pawlowski saluted the Florida pitchers.
"They've executed pitch after pitch," Pawlowski said. They have tremendous arm strength and velocity and they have out pitches. That makes it tough."
Senior second baseman Creede Simpson said Florida pitchers rarely missed their spots.
"We thought we had a good gameplan, and we did," Simpson said. "We just weren't able to execute it. That's on their pitchers. They were able to hit their spots and locate. They had good enough stuff to get us out."
Senior John Luke Jacobs, who was knocked out in the second inning Thursday, pitched 5 1/3 innings Tuesday. He gave up six hits and was charged with five runs. Two pitches spelled his undoing. Justin Shafer, hitting .267, got the Gators on the board with a two-run single in the second and Casey Turgeon, hitting, .259, hit a two-run double in a three-run sixth.
"The first hit, I was trying to get that ball on the outside corner and left it up," Jacobs said. "The double, that ball was a strike and he got hold of it pretty good. ... He squared it up pretty good and hit it in the gap."
Slade Smith finished the game, giving up a run on four hits in 2 2/3 innings.
Crawford gave up a run on two hits in 5 2/3 innings for the Gators. Steven Rodriguez, Greg Larson and Austin Maddox combined to hold the Tigers to a single hit over the last 3 1/3 innings.
Auburn got its only run in the third inning when Andrews beat out a slow roller. He went to second on Jay Gonzalez' sacrifice and scored when Zach Alvord reached on an error.
The Tigers hopes of making an NCAA regional could hang in the balance in Wednesday's game.
"We definitely have some work to do," Simpson said. "We need to come out tomorrow, execute and find a way to win and continue to win."
Cullen Wacker, Auburn's second-leading hitter, played for the first time since he was injured at Georgia when he pinch hit in the sixth inning. He struck out. Garrett Cooper, the team's third-leading hitter, did not play and is doubtful for Thursday.
"Cullen is working so hard," Pawlowski said. "He wants to be out there and help. He is very limited. He took BP today. Cooper, we'll see if he's able to go tomorrow. Hopefully, these guys will be healthy. If not, the guys out there are working extremely hard and playing hard for Auburn."
Freshman Daniel Koger (3-5, 3.42) will get the start on the mound Wednesday.