The Florida Gators thrived and advanced in the 2015 College World Series with a 10-2 victory over the Miami Hurricanes — Florida’s second dominant win over the Canes in the past five days.
While the Canes will arrive back in Coral Gables Thursday, Florida will get a practice in before a rematch on Friday with the Virginia Cavaliers — the team that sent them to the loser’s bracket.
Here are five takeaways from Florida’s win and the season as a whole.
1. The Gators dominated the state of Florida.
Talk about winning the state.
After two wins over Miami in the College World Series, the Gators will finish with a 17-4 record over in-state opponents in 2015 and they have outscored those teams 180-75. The four losses came to Miami, UCF and two to FSU but Florida hasn’t lost to an in-state team since an extra inning defeat in Tallahassee on April 14.
In the NCAA Tournament, the Gators played all in-state opponents, outscoring them 78-17, including a perfect 4-0 mark against their two biggest rivals (Miami & Florida State), outscoring the Canes and Noles 49-14.
2. Starting pitching getting it done.
Florida has the deepest pitching staff in the country but they way their starters have thrown, you may not even know that.
In the NCAA Tournament the Florida starters of Logan Shore, A.J. Puk and Alex Faedo have dominated games.
Here is the trio’s combined line: 6-1, 43 innings pitched, 31 hits, 8 earned runs, 15 walks, 45 strikeouts and a1.67 ERA.
That’s starting strong.
3. Miami saves the Florida bullpen, again.
The College World Series is set up in a way that is very advantageous for a team that goes 2-0. Look at Virginia. The Cavaliers won their first two games and were able to rest after beating Florida on Monday until their next game this Friday. The Gators, who started 1-1 had to use more pitching and play a game in-between those dates.
Virginia’s pitching staff is completely rested and they will have everybody ready to go against Florida on Friday.
However, other than Alex Faedo, so will the Gators.
We’ve mentioned how Florida’s pitching staff is deep and Miami didn’t do Florida’s opponent any favors. Faedo went five innings and the score was out of reach by the time he left the game, allowing Coach Kevin O’Sullivan to split the rest of the game up with Kirby Snead and Shaun Anderson. Both relievers kept their pitch count down and could be available if need be on Friday.
Florida will throw Logan Shore on Friday and should have everyone not named A.J. Puk available to come out of the bullpen to try and get a win to force a decisive game on Saturday with the winner going to the championship round.
4. Providing the power.
Since moving from old Rosenblatt Stadium over to the new TD Ameritrade Park, the power numbers have been down across the board at the College World Series. There were three home runs hit in the 2013 World Series and three home runs hit last year in the 2014 World Series.
In just seven innings on Wednesday night the Florida Gators hit four, including the three longest home runs ever recorded at TD Ameritrade park (421 feet – Pete Alonso, 414 feet – Harrison Bader, 412 feet – Buddy Reed).
All season long the Gators showed that they could slug it out with anyone, but used singles and timely hitting to get their first win in Omaha last Saturday. Wednesday night Bader set the tone with a leadoff home run and Buddy Reed followed up with a two-run blast of his own later in the inning.
The Gators can hit with any team in the country and they’ve shown that they’re capable of getting the job done in multiple ways.
5. Just what the doctor ordered for Richie Martin
Since he was drafted No. 20 overall by the Oakland Athletics, Richie Martin was 0-9 at the plate and slumping badly in Omaha.
Baseball, specifically hitting, is a mental game and sometimes all it takes to turn things around is some luck. In the second inning, Martin grounded a ball sharply up the middle and reached base with an infield single. In the fifth inning it was a perfectly placed bunt down the third base line and in the sixth it was a laser hit the other way, scraping the top of the wall for a home run.
Going 0-9 can feel like you’re in a slump for an eternity. Each at bat, every out feels like another weight being dropped on your shoulders until you wake up in the middle of the night hoping it was all a dream. Something as small as that first single — which could have been a fielder’s choice — and a bunt that goes 10-feet can be the kick start you need.
The Gators need Martin’s bat and he found it on Wednesday night.