By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com baseball writer
Two nights after being shutout while going 2-for-31 at the plate, No. 4 Florida Gators baseball (51-17) launched four home runs and set a couple records in the process, staving off elimination with a 10-2 rout of the Miami Hurricanes in the 2015 College World Series.
Florida’s four homers were the most ever at in a CWS game at TD Ameritrade Park, which has hosted the event since 2011 and is located in Omaha, Nebraska. Three of the four blasts were also the longest ever hit in the stadium over the five-year span, respectfully measuring 421, 414 and 412 feet.
All nine Gators starters recorded hits Wednesday. The biggest of the night – in size, not importance – came off the bat of sophomore first baseman Peter Alonso (2/5, HR, 2 RBI, R), who launched the 421-foot home bomb.
Florida improved to 5-0 in postseason elimination games this campaign, winning its first CWS loser’s bracket game since 1996.
Here are three takeaways from UF’s explosive win:
1. Setting the tone with power: Florida teed off on Miami starter Enrique Sosa for an early three runs as junior left fielder Harrison Bader (2/4, HR, RBI, 2 R) led off the game with a solo blast and sophomore center fielder Buddy Reed (2/5, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R) followed up with a two-run shot of his own. UF’s hot start forced UM to turn to its ace, Andrew Suarez, out of the bullpen on three days rest, but he did not fare much better.
2. A well-timed breakout: Junior shortstop Richie Martin (3/5, HR, RBI, 2 R) entered Wednesday’s game 0-for-9 in the College World Series but busted out of his slump with an explosive night. As the No. 2 batter, the Gators will be counting on Martin to swing a hot stick for the remainder of the tournament so he can get on base and create run-producing opportunities for Florida.
3. Results trump style: Freshman right-handed pitcher Alex Faedo’s (5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R [ER], 4 BB, 6 K) first five innings were scoreless but stressful. With four walks and one hit, the Canes had plenty of baserunners in the early going, but Faedo managed to work his way out of multiple jams as the Gators built an 8-0 lead. Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan would prefer to see fewer walks but will gladly take the scoreless innings from the rookie on the big stage. Faedo is coming into his own at just the right time for UF.
Up next: Florida advanced to the CWS semifinals where it will take on Virginia, with odds available on sportsbook online betting. With one loss, the Gators will be forced to beat the Cavaliers twice in order to advance to the CWS Championship Series, while a single loss will eliminate them from the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
Florida will start sophomore RHP Logan Shore (10-6, 2.55 ERA) on Friday at 3 p.m. against Virginia in a game that will air live nationally on ESPN2. Should UF win Friday’s game, in which it will be the home team, a rubber match will be played on Saturday.