The Florida Gators are back in Omaha for the second time in as many years, and Gator Country is here to provide you with the best coverage in the business as our own Tim Casey follows the team.
Here you can find all of Gator Country’s College World Series 2011 coverage, complete with features, game stories, photo galleries, live discussion, schedule and more.
LIVE BLOG – Florida 2 – 5 South Carolina, FINAL
After suffering a heartbreaking, extra-innings loss to the Gamecocks on Monday night in the 2011 CWS championship series opener, the Gators will have to rebound Tuesday night to keep their season alive.
Florida will pitch freshman right-hander Karsten Whitson (8-0, 2.43 ERA) against South Carolina junior left-hander Michael Roth (13-3, 0.98 ERA).
With a loss, Florida’s season will be over and South Carolina will repeat as back-to-back national champions. If Florida wins, it will force a third and deciding game for the national title on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. on ESPN.
You can follow our live, up-to-the-minute discussion of tonight’s game on the Gator Country message board at the link below, or check back here for inning-by-inning blog updates once the game begins.
Today’s Florida lineup:
CF (R) Bryson Smith .329
SS (L) Nolan Fontana .291
C (R) Mike Zunino .364
RF (L) Preston Tucker .312
2B (R) Josh Adams .324
LF (R) Daniel Pigott .335
DH (L) Brian Johnson .311
1B (R) Vickash Ramjit .384
3B (L) Cody Dent .215
RHP Karsten Whitson 2.43 ERA, 8-0
Top of the 1st Inning
Florida threatens by putting two men on in the top of the inning, but can’t scratch anything across. Bryson Smith led off with a single to center field, and a sacrifice bunt from Nolan Fontana moved him to second base.
Mike Zunino drew a one-out walk to put runners at first and second with one out. But Preston Tucker and Josh Adams both flied out to center field on back-to-back pitches to end the inning.
Bottom of the 1st Inning
Karsten Whitson starts out a little shaky on the mound and hits Scott Wingo to start the inning. He then settled down and got Jackie Bradley, Jr. to strike out swinging and Christian Walker to ground into a double play to second base.
Top of the 2nd Inning
South Carolina pitcher Michael Roth sits the Gators down in order. Daniel Pigott flew out to left to start the inning, and then Roth struck out Brian Johnson and Vickash Ramjit swinging to end the inning.
Bottom of the 2nd Inning
Whitson gets a three-up, three-down inning and picks up his second and third strikeouts of the game in the process. He got Brady Thomas to strike out swinging, got Adrian Morales to ground out to first base and then got Jake Williams to strike out swinging to end the inning.
Top of the 3rd Inning
Roth works another three-up, three-down inning. Dent grounded out to second base for the first out, and then Smith went down swinging to become Roth’s third strikeout victim. Fontana grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning.
Bottom of the 3rd Inning
South Carolina draws first blood after Peter Mooney hits a leadoff double into the left-field corner off Whitson. Robert Beary moved him to third with a sacrifice bunt, and Evan Marzilli drew a walk to put runners at the corners with one out.
Wingo, the hero for the Gamecocks last night, plated Mooney with a deep sacrifice fly to right field to put South Carolina up 1-0. Bradley, Jr. then drew a walk before Walker hit a sharp grounder to shortstop that Fontana booted, allowing another run to score to make it 2-0.
With runners at the corners and two outs, Thomas hit a chopper that just made it over Whitson’s head on the mound. Thomas beat out Adams’ throw to first to score a third run and make it 3-0. Whitson got Morales to ground out to the pitcher to end the inning.
Top of the 4th Inning
Florida cuts into the lead right away with a solo home run from Zunino to left field. But Florida couldn’t get much more going as Tucker grounded out to shortstop, Adams grounded out to shortstop and Pigott grounded out to second base to end the inning.
Bottom of the 4th Inning
After Whitson hits Williams with a pitch on an 0-2 count to start the inning, Mooney lays down a sacrifice bunt to move him to second. Whitson got Beary to fly out to right field and Marzilli to ground out to second base to end the inning.
Top of the 5th Inning
Florida threatens in the top half by getting a leadoff hit-by-pitch by Johnson and a single to right field by Ramjit. But Dent strikes out on a bunt foul with two strikes and Smith grounds into a double play to the second baseman to end the inning.
Bottom of the 5th Inning
Whitson gets two quick outs before running into a heap of trouble. After getting Wingo to ground out to first base and Bradley to strike out looking, Whitson gave up back-to-back singles to left field to Walker and Thomas.
He thin hit Morales with a pitch to load the bases with two outs, ending his day as head coach Kevin O’Sullivan brought reliever Tommy Toledo into the game.
Toledo struck out Williams on four pitches to work out of the jam.
Top of the 6th Inning
Florida once again gets the first two batters on with a hit-by-pitch by Fontana and a single to left field by Zunino. But Roth responds by striking out Tucker and getting Adams to ground out to third base for the second out. The runners moved to second and third on Adams’ grounder, but Pigott grounded out to second to end the inning.
Bottom of the 6th Inning
South Carolina adds another run in the bottom of the inning with a leadoff solo home run from Mooney just over the right-field wall. Toledo got Beary to pop up to Adams near the right-field line before he was pulled by O’Sullivan.
Johnson came on to pitch for the Gators and after giving up a double to left field to Marzilili, he got Wingo to fly out to center and Bradley to strike out swinging to end the inning.
Top of the 7th Inning
Johnson draws a leadoff walk on four pitches against Roth, but Florida can’t capitalize. Ramjit struck out swinging, Dent flew out to left field and Smith grounded into a fielder’s choice to third base to end the inning.
Bottom of the 7th Inning
Johnson runs into trouble in the bottom of the inning, giving up a leadoff single to Walker to center and a one-out double to left field to Morales to put runners on second and third with one out. O’Sullivan pulled him from the game for Anthony DeSclafani.
DeSclafani struck out Williams and then was pulled for Steven Rodriguez. Rodriguez got Mooney to ground out to second base to end the inning and keep the deficit at 4-1.
Top of the 8th Inning
Florida plates another run to cut the South Carolina lead to 4-2. Fontana grounded out to second base before Zunino launched a double off the wall in right-center field. Tucker grounded out to second base befoer South Carolina brought on reliever John Taylor.
Adams blasted an RBI single to right field to cut the lead to 4-2, and South Carolina then brought on closer Matt Price. Price struck out Tyler Thompson, pinch-hitting for Pigott, to end the inning.
Bottom of the 8th Inning
South Carolina adds an insurance run in the bottom half to make it 5-2. Beary led off the inning with a single to center field, and Marzilli moved him over to second with a sacrifice bunt.
A wild pitch allowed Beary to move to third, and Wingo drove him in with a chop single to right field to put the Gamecocks ahead by three runs. Rodriguez intentionally walked Walker and was pulled from the game when South Carolina pinch-hit Adam Matthews for Thomas.
Greg Larson entered the game for Florida and got Matthews to ground out to first base to end the inning.
Top of the 9th Inning
Johnson flew out to center to start the inning. Jeff Moyer pinch-hit for Ramjit and grounded out to first base. Ben McMahon pinch-hit for Dent and flew out to center field to end the game and the Gators’ season.
Florida finished the season 53-19.
June 27 – Florida 1 – 2 South Carolina
With sophomore right-hander Hudson Randall on the mound, Florida cruised in the early going against South Carolina, even with the bats quiet through majority of regulation.
After Randall gave up a run to tie the game at 1-1 in the top of the 8th inning, the Gators missed several opportunities to win the game in walk-off fashion, failing to score with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning and getting the winning run thrown out at home plate in the bottom of the 10th inning.
South Carolina took advantage of two Florida throwing errors when Christian Walker stole second in the top of the 11th inning. First, catcher Mike Zunino’s throw to second base to get Walker was over Josh Adams’ head into center field.
Then, on the throw to third, Cody Dent couldn’t come up with the ball, allowing Walker to score the game-winning run.
With the loss, Florida now faces elimination Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. The Gators will have to win to keep their season alive and force a third and deciding game for the national championship.
You can check out our own Tim Casey’s complete Florida vs. South Carolina 2011 CWS Game 1 recap.
GatorCountry.com Pregame Coverage – South Carolina
Swag vs. swag: After splitting an SEC title, Florida and defending national champion South Carolina both enter the national championship series knowing what the other is capable of. It’ll be a battle of titans for the 2011 CWS championship. For more in-depth coverage of tonight’s matchup, check out Tim Casey’s Florida vs. South Carolina 2011 CWS preview.
June 24 – Florida 6 – 4 Vanderbilt
The Florida Gators used a dominant performance from starting pitcher Alex Panteliodis and some clutch, late-game hitting to knock off the Vanderbilt Commodores and advance to the Omaha 2011 national championship series.
Panteliodis worked through six innings and gave up one run on three hits, leaving the game after the sixth inning with a 4-1 lead.
Florida’s bullpen gave up the lead in the seventh and eighth innings, allowing the Commodores to tie the game at 4-4. But Florida battled back and took the lead in the bottom of the eight inning with two runs to eek out a 6-4 win.
The Florida Gators will face the defending national champion South Carolina Gamecocks in the 2011 CWS championship series, beginning on Monday night.
For more on Florida’s win over Vanderbilt to advance to the CWS championship series, you can check out Tim Casey’s complete Florida vs. Vanderbilt recap.
GatorCountry.com Pregame Coverage – Vanderbilt
Panteliodis will pace Gators: Florida junior left-hander Alex Panteliodis has pitched well in big games for Florida so far this postseason, and he’ll be counted on to do it again as he gets the nod on the hill with the Gators just one win from the CWS 2011 championship series. Tim Casey previews the rematch between Florida and Vanderbilt.
June 20, 21 – Florida 3 – 1 Vanderbilt
The Florida Gators got out to an early 3-0 lead over the Vanderbilt Commodores in the winner’s bracket of the 2011 College World Series after junior right fielder Preston Tucker launched a three-run homer over the wall in right field in the top of the fourth inning.
Vanderbilt answered with a run in the bottom of the fifth inning off Karsten Whitson, who was pulled from the game with two outs in the fifth inning.
In the bottom of the sixth inning with Florida leading 3-1, the game was halted due severe weather. The game resumed Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET on ESPN in the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs for the Commodores.
Florida cruised to a quick 3-1 win Tuesday as reliever Steven Rodriguez was virtually unhittable after coming on the game in relief of Karsten Whitson Monday night.
With the win, Florida moves one win away from the CWS Championship Series. The Gators will meet the winner of Vanderbilt and North Carolina (Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2) on Friday at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN.
For more on Florida’s win over Vanderbilt, check out Tim Casey’s Gators vs. Commodores postgame recap.
GatorCountry.com Pregame Coverage – Vanderbilt
Smith’s Second Chance: After his arrest for DUI midway through the season, Bryson Smith’s future with Florida was unclear. He’s made the most of his second chance since his return and helped Florida beat Texas by reaching base all five times against the Longhorns.
Whitson, Gators ready for Vandy: Freshman right-hander Karsten Whitson has never pitched an environment like the College World Series, but he’s excited as Florida gets set to take on Vanderbilt in the winner’s bracket. Tim Casey previews the game between Florida and Vanderbilt.
June 18 – Florida 8 – 4 Texas
After falling behind 3-0 in the third inning, Florida battled back and held Texas to just one run over the final five innings behind a dominant performance from sophomore right-hander Hudson Randall (W 11-3, 2.24 ERA).
The Gators plated eight runs in the game to win 8-4 and advance to face Vanderbilt in the winner’s bracket.
Bryson Smith and Daniel Pigott led the Gators, as Smith reached base all five times against the Longhorns, and Pigott got on board three of four times. Sophomore Brian Johnson was also instrumental in his return from a concussion that sidelined him for eight games, as he launched a crucial two-RBI double that extended Florida’s lead from 5-4 to 7-4.
For more postgame coverage, please check out Tim Casey’s complete Florida vs. Texas recap.
GatorCountry.com Pregame Coverage – Texas
Previewing Texas: Gator Country caught up with a Texas beat writer to preview the Texas Longhorns before Friday’s matchup.
Florida’s Mindset: The Gators made it clear they’re not going to be as star-struck as they were last season when they lost their first two games in Omaha. This time, Florida will only be satisfied with winning.
Playoff Beards: Florida’s players entered the postseason mostly clean-shaven, but they’re a grisly bunch heading into Omaha. The Gators don’t want to shave any time soon, either.
Closing Time: After missing four straight games following a foot sprain against the Miami Hurricanes in the Gainesville Regional, Austin Maddox is cleared to play and could pitch as Florida’s closer if needed.
New Faces in New Park: For all of Florida’s players, the ball park is new this time around in Omaha. But a handful of Gators are making their first College World Series appearance, too.
Bringing Brian Back: After losing their sophomore pitcher and designated hitter in the SEC Tournament, the Gators should get a jolt of energy with Brian Johnson cleared to play and potentially returning to the lineup.
Eyes on Texas: For complete pregame coverage, final thoughts from Florida’s players and notes heading into Friday’s showdown, take a look at Tim Casey’s Eyes on Texas preview.
Looking Ahead – College World Series Schedule
The loser of Florida and Vanderbilt will face North Carolina in an elimination game on Wednesday at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.
The winner of Florida and Vanderbilt will be one win away from the championship series and will play the winner of the elimination game against North Carolina on Friday at 2 p.m. on ESPN.
Below is the schedule for the College World Series 2011, which will be updated as games are completed.
|College World Series 2011 Schedule|
|Saturday, June 18|
|1||(3) North Carolina 3 – 7 (6) Vanderbilt||2:00||ESPN|
|2||(2) Florida 8 – 4 (7) Texas||7:00||ESPN|
|Sunday, June 19|
|3||California 1 – 4 (1) Virginia||2:00||ESPN|
|4||(4) South Carolina 5 – 4 Texas A&M||7:00||ESPN2|
|Monday, June 20|
|5||(3) North Carolina 3 – 0 (7) Texas||2:00||ESPN|
|6||(6) Vanderbilt 1 – 3 (2) Florida||7:00||ESPN2|
|Tuesday, June 21|
|7||California 7 – 3 Texas A&M||2:00||ESPN|
|8||(1) Virginia 1 – 7 (4) South Carolina||7:00||ESPN|
|Wednesday, June 22|
|9||(3) North Carolina 1 – 5 (6) Vanderbilt||7:00||ESPN2|
|Thursday, June 23|
|10||California 1 – 8 (1) Virginia||7:00||ESPN2|
|Friday, June 24|
|11||(2) Florida 6 – 4 (6) Vanderbilt||2:00||ESPN|
|12||(4) South Carolina 3 – 2 (1) Virginia||7:00||ESPN|
|College World Series 2011 – Championship Series|
|Monday, June 27|
|1||(2) Florida 1 – 2 (4) South Carolina||8:00||ESPN|
|Tuesday, June 28|
|2||(2) Florida vs. (4) South Carolina||8:00||ESPN|
|Wednesday, June 29 (if necessary)|
|3||(2) Florida vs. (4) South Carolina||8:00||ESPN|