Florida baseball advances to 2017 Super Regional with elimination-game victory

By Adam Silverstein
June 5, 2017
Florida baseball advances to 2017 Super Regional with elimination-game victory
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Image Credit: Orlando Sentinel

It took longer than Florida Gators baseball wanted to get through the 2017 Gainesville Regional, but it eventually moved on to Super Regional play by taking down the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats 6-1 in an elimination game on Monday.

A shocking 6-2 defeat at the hands of Bethune-Cookman on Sunday night forced the do-or-die affair — UF’s first in this round of the NCAA Tournament since 2002. The victory was the Wildcats’ first against the Gators in 32 attempts; Florida is now 32-1 all-time against the FCS program located in Daytona Beach, Florida.

This marks the third straight year and sixth time in nine seasons that UF advanced out of regional play. The Gators went on to the College World Series in five of those appearances and have not been defeated in Super Regional play since 2009. Florida will host Wake Forest at McKethan Stadium in a best-of-three series.

UF opened the Gainesville Regional with a tougher-than-expected 10-6 win over Marist and followed that by beating South Florida 5-1. BCU lost its opening game but rallied with three straight victories to reach Monday’s elimination game.

The Gators and Wildcats were stuck in a scoreless tie through the first five innings on Monday until a mishandled pop up and rushed throw to second put two on with one out in the top of the sixth. That’s when freshman left-handed starting pitcher Austin Langworthy acquired a 3-0 count and patiently waited for a 3-1 pitch over the plate, hammering it to right field for a three-run homer that broke scoring open. UF plated another run in each of the three remaining innings. Langworthy, who earned his first collegiate start, struck out three and gave up just one earned run over two hits and a walk in four innings.

Florida saw plenty of success at the plate in regional play, but it was multiple standout relief performances from sophomore right-handed pitcher Michael Byrne (10.0 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 13 K) that truly powered the Gators over the long weekend.

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