It was the first time that Coastal Carolina has been to Omaha for the College World Series, but the Chanticleers certainly didn’t look the part of nervous first-timers. Behind the side-wining delivery of Andrew Beckwith the Chants’ took a 2-1 opening round win over Florida, sending the Gators off to the loser’s bracket in front of a crowd of 19,696.
The Chants bested Florida ace Logan Shore, who had a streak of 17-consecutive winning decisions snapped on Sunday night. Shore gave up a triple in the first and a double in the second, but was able to work around both extra base hits unscathed. The Gators tacked two hits on Beckwith in the first before JJ Schwarz struck out and Mike Rivera grounded out to end the threat. Florida added another hit in the second but a 5-4-3 double play ended that threat.
Coastal left fielder Anthony Marks doubled with one out in the top of the third, but Shore responded by striking out Michael Paez. Connor Ownings earned a walk before history was made in Omaha. Zach Remillard launched a ball down the right field line, Nelson Maldonado gave chase, but watched the ball fall and find dirt. Initially, the call was foul ball, no harm no foul for Shore and the Gators, but for the first time ever at the College World Series, replay was used to check a call. After an extended look at the replay (4 minutes), the umpires ruled that Remillard’s hit had found the foul line, ruled a double in favor of the Chants and the first run of the game. Shore got a groundout to get out inning and would retire the next seven batters he faced.
Deacon Liput doubled with one out in the fifth. It was Florida’s first hit since fellow freshman infielder Jonathan India singled to start the second. Jeremy Vasquez was put in as a pinch hitter with two outs and the sophomore delivered a single, tying the game at one.
“I was watching him, how he threw to all the lefties all night just in case I had to come in and face him,” Vasquez said. “I didn’t know it would be so soon. But when I came up I had a good idea where he was putting the ball. I got a pitch up and put a good swing on it.”
Shore walked Owings again to start the sixth and Remillard crushed a 2-2 offering off the wall in center field, just under the glove of a leaping Buddy Reed, for a RBI triple.
Kevin O’Sullivan turned to Kirby Snead. The lefty specialist threw one pitch, a fastball that plunked G.K. Young. Snead was replaced by Dane Dunning who needed just six pitches to get three outs and hold the Chants to just one run. Dunning tossed 2.2 innings of scoreless relief with three strikeouts. In five NCAA Tournament appearances, he has allowed just one run (earned) in 14.1 frames
Florida just couldn’t get any momentum going at the plate. The Gators were just 2-10 with runners on base and scattered seven hits.
“There’s a lot of people disappointed. I’m disappointed, to be honest with you. I think that’s a really good team. We just ran across a guy that was just really good tonight. And but we’ll bounce back,” Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We’ll have a good practice tomorrow. And we’ve got no choice. We’ve got Alex on the mound, and we’ll do whatever we need to do Tuesday and hopefully win and then move on. Just take it one game at a time. That’s all we could do at this point.”
The Gators fall into the loser’s bracket and will face off against Texas Tech on Tuesday night at 5 pm EST. The Gators will turn to Alex Faedo on the mound.