Wet and wild: Florida Gators baseball off to College World Series for third straight season

By Adam Silverstein
June 12, 2017
Wet and wild: Florida Gators baseball off to College World Series for third straight season
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Image Credit: ESPN Images

There were times this season when the 2017 College World Series looked like a pipe dream for Florida Gators baseball. Hell, there were times this weekend that it appeared Florida may not be able to match its Gainesville Super Regional counterpart in the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

In the end, the Gators proved once again that they are among the nation’s best teams, fighting through hours upon hours of weather delays and starting pitchers who barely saw half their planned outings to beat Wake Forest in Monday night’s rubber match and advance to the CWS for the third straight season and sixth time in the last eight under head coach Kevin O’Sullivan.

Florida traveling to Omaha, Nebraska, in June may be expected, but it did not come easy this season and was no simpler while hosting Super Regional action at McKethan Stadium over the last three days.

An 11-inning, weather-delayed Game 1 victory was followed by an 11-inning, weather delayed Game 2, which was suspended from Sunday until Monday afternoon and ended with Wake Forest earning a shocking 8-6 victory after a second home run was allowed by super sophomore closer Michael Byrne.

The victory was the Demon Deacons’ first in Super Regional history, and the visitors had an opportunity to notch a second just an hour later when Game 3 began. As had been the track record in this series, the rubber match was halted soon after it began with those in charge not taking into account the weather forecast when beginning the game.

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Brady Singer, the planned Game 2 starter who saw that appearance scratched when he pitched four innings following a weather delay in Game 1, was infuriated when rain came down after he struck out three of the seven batters he faced through two innings.

By the time the game restarted hours later, Singer was out and freshman RHP Tyler Dyson entered. To say Dyson (5.0 IP, 2 H, 7 K) was efficient and effective would be an understatement.

The two combined to shut out Wake Forest through seven innings as Florida built on its early 1-0 lead with a two-run homer from junior first baseman JJ Schwarz right out of the delay.

On came the Game 1 starter, junior RHP Alex Faedo — he was selected with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers within the hour of his appearance — to close out the contest and register the final six outs.

Faedo (2.0 IP, H, BB, 3 K) did just that, throwing just 12 pitches in the inning, which he began and concluded with swinging strikeouts.

Due to the constant delays, the Gators were the last team to qualify for the CWS, which begins on Saturday at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. No. 3 Florida will open in the bottom bracket against No. 6 TCU on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2. No. 7 Louisville and Texas A&M are also in the second bracket, while No. 1 Oregon State, Cal State Fullerton, No. 4 LSU and Florida State make up the top half.

UF is 5-1 against the field (3-0 vs. FSU, 2-1 vs. LSU) but has not played any of the teams in its section of the bracket this season.

3 Comments

  1. Charles Collins says:

    Great comeback shows true grit to do all this among stop and go scenario that these young men had to endured this weekend! Now if fla AD has any insight he needs to give Coach Sullivan A MAJOR u can’t go anywhere RAISE!!!!!!! Go Gators

  2. Alex says:

    This team certainly deserves it. Probably not the most star laden bunch (outside of Faedo and Schwarz) but they are gritty and they do not quit. This series against Wake Forest might’ve been the most physically and mentally draining series we’ve seen in quite some time. These extended rain delays really test a teams’ capacity to handle adversity. By the way, WF is damn good ball club; hats off to them. The HR clinic they put on in game 2 was borderline assanine! That is one of the most dangerous offensive teams in college history.

    If the pitching that we saw in game 1 and game 3 vs WF continues they will have a decent shot to go deep into the CWS. TD Ameritrade park doesn’t necessarily force a team to have to hit HRs to win. We need to get on base by any means necessary and be disciplined at the plate.

  3. SW FL Joe says:

    To shut out a team that in the previous game scored 8 runs on 5 homers is impressive. This year maybe Sully’s best coaching job yet considering the lack of talent compared to other teams he has taken to Omaha. Even if we go 2 and q again I still think this team overachieved.

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