Florida Gators baseball falls to Virginia 5-4, gets eliminated from 2015 College World Series

By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com baseball writer

No. 4 Florida Gators (52-18) baseball saw its season come to an end on Saturday, one game shy of advancing to the 2015 College World Series Championship Series as the Virginia Cavaliers edged UF 5-4 in a drama-filled game with multiple ties and lead changes.

Virginia jumped out to a 1-0 lead, but Florida sophomore first baseman Peter Alonso (1/3, HR, 2 RBI, R, BB) answered with a 429-foot two-run homer in the second inning, breaking his own record for the longest home run hit in the history of TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Cavs tied the game at two in the fourth inning, but junior left fielder Harrison Bader (4/5, HR, RBI, R) put the Gators up 3-2 with a solo shot in the top of the fifth, as UF was marked as the visitor on Saturday. It was the last time Florida would hold a lead this season as Virginia fought back to go up 4-3 in the bottom frame and broke a 4-4 tie with multiple hits in the seventh.

The loss is a difficult one for the Gators, which have advanced to the CWS four times in the last six seasons but never come back to Gainesville with a national title.

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Takeaways: Florida Gators upend Virginia 10-5, force rubber match for Championship Series berth

By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com baseball writer

No. 4 Florida Gators baseball (52-17) lived to fight another day, thumping the Virginia Cavaliers 10-5 on Friday afternoon to force a Saturday rubber match with a spot in the 2015 College World Series Championship Series on the line.

Virginia struck first, using two first-inning singles off sophomore right-handed pitcher Logan Shore (6.1 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) to take a 1-0 lead. But unlike Monday night, one run was not going to be enough to beat Florida.

The Gators had two bursts of offense, a four-run third inning to reclaim the lead and a five-run sixth inning to put the game out of reach, battling back in the contest to keep their season alive.

Florida has thrived under the pressure of must-win games in the 2015 postseason. The Gators won four straight elimination games in Hoover, Alabama, to win the 2015 SEC Tournament Championship out of the loser’s bracket and have now come out on top twice with the season on the line at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska. UF will need to do it one more time on Saturday to advance to the CWS finals.

Here are three takeaways from UF’s important win:

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Takeaways: Florida Gators set College World Series home run records in 10-2 win over Miami

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:

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Nine Florida Gators selected in 2015 MLB Draft

The Florida Gators baseball team saw nine of its current players selected over the last three days during the 40-round 2015 MLB Draft, though it is unknown as of press time how many of those drafted players will leave the program to turn professional.

Junior shortstop Richie Martin was the first Florida player drafted when he was chosen by the Oakland Athletics with the No. 20 overall pick in the first round.

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No. 4 Florida Gators baseball routs Florida State on the way to 2015 College World Series

By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com baseball writer

For the first time since 2012, No. 4 Florida Gators baseball is going back to Omaha, Nebraska, after earning a spot in the 2015 College World Series on Saturday night. Florida (49-16) overcame an early two-run deficit to earn an 11-4 victory over the Florida State Seminoles at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

UF outscored FSU 24-9 over during the 2015 Gainesville Super Regionals, pulling off a 13-5 win on Friday night.

Freshman catcher JJ Schwarz (3/4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R) led the way on offense for the Gators with two deep blasts to left field. Schwarz, Florida’s rookie phenom, owns a new school record with 18 home runs during his freshman campaign. Schwarz has hit a blazing hot 22-for-39 (.564) in postseason play, going 12-for-20 (.600) in five 2015 NCAA Tournament games. If Schwarz can keep his hot streak up next week in Omaha, UF will be tough to beat.

This year’s berth marks Florida’s ninth trip to the College World Series, its fourth in eight seasons under head coach Kevin O’Sullivan (2010-12). UF will face No. 5 Miami in opening-round action; the Gators took two-of-three games from the Canes in Gainesville from Feb. 20-22.

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Takeaways: Florida routs FSU, one win from CWS

By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com baseball writer

No. 4 Florida Gators baseball (48-16) opened the 2015 Gainesville Super Regional on Friday with a 13-5 thumping of the rival Florida State Seminoles (44-20). The Gators are now one win away from returning to the College World Series for the first time since 2012.

Florida scored early and often in the game. A four-run first inning for the Gators gave sophomore right-handed pitcher Logan Shore (5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 5 K) all the cushion he needed. Senior third baseman Josh Tobias (2/5, 3 RBI, R) and freshmen catcher Mike Rivera (1/3, 3 RBI, R) led UF, while freshman C JJ Schwarz (2/3, HR, 2 RBI, 3 R, 2 RBI) hit the team’s only homer, a solo shot to deep left in the fifth inning. Schwarz is now batting 19-for-35 (.543) in postseason play.

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Top 10 plays: Florida Gators softball and baseball flash in 2015 NCAA Tournament

The weekend was a good one for the Florida Gators softball and baseball teams, which each advanced a round in their respective 2015 NCAA Tournament.

No. 1 softball moved on to the 2015 Women’s College World Series Championship Series where it will face No. 5 Michigan – beginning Monday evening – in an effort to defend its 2014 national title. The Gators got there by routing Tennessee 7-2 on Thursday, shutting out LSU 4-0 on Friday and edging Auburn 3-2 in nine innings on Sunday.

No. 4 baseball’s weekend was less dramatic. On the way to winning the Gainesville Regional, Florida routed Florida A&M 19-0 on Friday, pushed passed South Florida 8-2 on Saturday and squeaked out a 2-1 win against Florida Atlantic on Sunday. UF will host Super Regional action this week against the winner of the Tallahassee Regional.

Normally, a highlight or two would come from such an high-pressure weekend. As it turns out, there were more than enough over the last few days to fill a top 10 list. With that in mind, let’s check out the top Gators plays of the weekend.

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Takeaways: No. 4 Florida Gators baseball tames USF Bulls 8-1, moves to Gainesville Regional final

By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com baseball writer

No. 4 Florida Gators baseball (46-16) advanced to the finals of the Gainesville Regional portion of the 2015 NCAA Tournament with an 8-2 win over the South Florida Bulls on Saturday evening. As such, the Gators are now one win away from hosting a Super Regional as part of the Round of 16.

Despite being the regional hosts and a top national seed, Florida played Saturday as the visiting team in McKethan Stadium. USF threatened early, taking advantage of a lead off walk in the bottom of the first inning to load the bases with two outs, but sophomore left-handed pitcher A.J. Puk (7.0 IP, 4 H, BB, 8 K) notched a scoreless frame on 29 pitches and got into a groove, at one point retiring 14 consecutive batters.

UF sophomore center fielder Buddy Reed (2/5, HR, 2 RBI, R) broke the scoring ice with a two-run shot in the top of the third. His effort was matched by junior left fielder Harrison Bader (2/5, HR, 2 RBI, R), who cranked one out in the Gators’ next offensive frame.

Sophomore LHP Kirby Snead (1.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, K) took over for Puk in the bottom of the eighth inning, and junior right-handed pitcher Taylor Lewis (1.0 IP, H) tied the game up.

Here are three takeaways from Florida’s decisive victory:

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