GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- What could be Casey Mize's final collegiate game will be one he definitely wants to forget.
The Auburn pitcher didn't have the normal pinpoint control that made him the No. 1 overall pick in last Monday's MLB draft, and he had one of the shakiest outings of his career in the Tigers' 8-2 loss to Florida in the first game of the best-of-three super regional at McKethan Stadium.
Mize walked a career-high four batters (he had allowed 12 walks all season entering Saturday's game), hit another and gave up a season-high six runs in only five innings.
"I didn't throw a lot of strikes, and I walked four guys, and I hit one," Mize said. "I don't know when the last time was I walked four guys. I don't know. I just couldn't get ahead, couldn't stay in the strike zone. ... I don't know. I was leaving a bunch of stuff up, and they were putting some good swings on balls.
"I just didn't compete well."
Mize walked three batters twice as a freshman in 2016 but hadn't walked more than two batters in 31 starts until Saturday. He said he didn't know why his control was off against the Gators, who are now one victory away from their fourth consecutive trip to the College World Series.
"If I could put my finger on it, I probably would have figured it out," he said. "But I don't know. I just kept walking guys. I kept getting behind the count, so I don't know. We'll go back and watch some video. I'll try to figure it out, but midgame there wasn't anything that I noticed, or else I would have figured it out and changed it."
Mize's struggles meant that the expected pitcher's duel with Florida's Brady Singer never materialized. Singer, the 18th overall draft pick, struggled early, giving up a run in the second and third innings and throwing 72 pitches (30 in the second) through three innings, but he settled down after that. He struck out nine, gave up just four hits and walked only two in 6.2 innings.
Mize's performance against the Gators was the latest in a troubling stretch over the past month. Including Saturday's loss to the Gators, Mize has allowed 20 runs and 30 hits in his past 23.2 innings against Southeastern Conference competition, and he and Auburn are 0-4 in those games. The only game he has won since beating Vanderbilt on May 4 was a 12-1 victory over Army in the second game of the NCAA regional last weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina.
"He made every start this year and has just been so good for us," Auburn coach Butch Thompson said. "Couple of these we're talking about the last few games is three or four runs. Today I think he misfired more than I've seen him misfire, but I think today's was different than the ones we're referencing here in the last month or so.
"He's resilient. I could tell that one hurt him today. He was excited about today."
Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan said Mize's performance on Saturday shouldn't be the one everyone remembers.
"No one's perfect," O'Sullivan said. "I think sometimes we put too much expectations on these young guys. You've got to keep in mind they're 21 years old still. He's been unbelievable the entire year and really his career.
"... I just think we just had some good approaches today, and I think it's that simple."