The Florida Gators are back in Omaha for the third time in as many years, and Gator Country is here to provide you with some of the most comprehensive coverage in the business as our staff follows the team.
Here you can find all of Gator Country’s College World Series 2012 coverage, complete with features, game stories, live discussion, schedule and more.
After falling to South Carolina 7-3 in the opening game of the College World Series, Florida will have to win four straight games to get back to the championship series. That run will start Monday at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN2 against Kent State, who lost its opening game to Arkansas 8-1.
The Gators know they have enough pitching to battle back, with one of the deepest bullpens in the country. However, the going won’t get any easier, with Kent State playing with its back to the wall and South Carolina and Arkansas looming after that.
Florida will turn to right-hander Hudson Randall (9-2, 2.61 ERA) on the mound looking to survive and move on. For more on the game, check out our full game preview linked below.
You can also follow today’s game with our live blog below, complete with half-inning updates, or our up-to-the-minute coverage on our live game thread on our message boards linked below.
LIVE BLOG – Florida 4 – 5 Kent State – FINAL
#4 SS Nolan Fontana .285
#25 RF Preston Tucker .320
#3 C Mike Zunino .320
#35 DH Brian Johnson .308
#8 CF Daniel Pigott .319
#2 2B Casey Turgeon .283
#16 LF Justin Shafer .280
#12 3B Josh Tobias .258
#17 1B Taylor Gushue .201
Florida – #11 RHP Hudson Randall – (9-2, 2.61 ERA)
Kent State – #19 RHP Ryan Bores – (9-3, 3.35 ERA)
Top of the 1st Inning
Nolan Fontana led off with a towering shot to the warning track, which the right fielder tracked down for the first out as he crashed into the wall. Preston Tucker drew a one-out walk on four pitches. Tucker then got thrown out at second on what looked like a hit-and-run that Mike Zunino didn’t swing on. Zunino grounded out to third to end the inning.
Bottom of the 1st Inning
Evan Campbell flew out to center field for the first out. Jimmy Rider hit a hard grounder to short, and Fontana bobbled it and threw high of the bag to Taylor Gushue, who couldn’t keep his foot on the base to make the catch. The error allowed Rider to reach first. Tucker then missed a diving catch in right center field on a liner by David Lyon, putting runners at the corners with one out.
Kent State first baseman George Roberts drove in a run with a line-drive single to right field to score Rider. T.J. Sutton grounded out to second base for the second out, as the runners moved to second and third. Randall stuck out Sawyer Polen to end the inning with Kent State up 1-0.
Top of the 2nd Inning
Brian Johnson reached first safely on hard-hit grounder to first base that got stuck in his glove. Daniel Pigott popped up to shortstop for the first out. Casey Turgeon reached first on a fielder’s choice, and Johnson made it safely to second on an error by the second baseman on the Turgeon grounder, with the second baseman missing the throw to second on an attempted double play. Justin Shafer grounded out to second for a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Bottom of the 2nd Inning
Hudson Randall left the game for Florida due to dehydration after the first inning, with Jonathon Crawford coming on to replace him. Jason Bagoly led off the inning with a single to center field. A sac bunt attempt by Alex Miklos put runners on first and second with no outs when third baseman Josh Tobias bobbled the ball as he tried to barehand and throw to first.
Derek Toadvine then successfully laid down a sac bunt to move the runners to second and third with one out. Crawford struck out Campbell for the second out. An infield single by Rider on the third base line plated a run and left runners at the corners with two outs. Lyon then hit an RBI single to center field to extend the lead to 3-0. Roberts followed that with another RBI single right back up the middle to make it 4-0. Sutton grounded out to shortstop to end the inning.
Top of the 3rd Inning
Josh Tobias got to first to start the inning on a hit-by-pitch. Taylor Gushue flew out to left field for the first out. Fontana walked to put runners on first and second with one out. Tucker flew out to the catcher out of play for the second out. Zunino then hit a two-out RBI single to center field to cut the deficit to 4-1 and leave runners at the corners. Johnson struck out to end the inning.
Bottom of the 3rd Inning
Polen hit a leadoff single to right field. Bagoly flew out to center field for the first out. Miklos reached first on a fielder’s choice on a grounder to Crawford on the mound. Crawford turned and threw the lead runner out at second for the second out. Toadvine grounded out to third to end the inning safely.
Top of the 4th Inning
Pigott grounded out to shortstop to start the inning. Turgeon flew out to right field for the second out. Shafer roped a stand-up double to left with two outs. Tobias flew out to the catcher out of play to end the inning, stranding Shafer on second.
Bottom of the 4th Inning
Campbell grounded out to shortstop to start the bottom half. Rider doubled to left field, and then a wild pitch allowed him to get to third base with one out. Crawford struck out Lyon swinging for the second out. Another wild pitch from Crawford allowed Campbell to score to make it 5-1 Kent State. Crawford struck out Roberts swinging to end the inning.
Top of the 5th Inning
Gushue led off the inning with a single to right field. Fontana flied out to second for the first out. Tucker popped up to shortstop for the second out. Zunino flied out to the warning track in center field.
Bottom of the 5th Inning
Sutton reached first with a leadoff single to left field. Polen singled to center field. Greg Larson came on to pitch for Crawford with runners on first and second and no outs. Bagoly hit a sac bunt that moved the runners to second and third with one out. Turgeon threw home on a grounder to second to nail the runner coming home for the second out. Toadvine grounded out to second to end the inning.
Top of the 6th Inning
Johnson lined to center field, where Campbell made a terrific diving catch to rob him of an extra-base hit. Pigott singled to left field before Turgeon hit a deep fly ball to right for the second out. Shafer roped a two-out double to right center field to plate a run and cut the Kent State lead to 5-2. Tobias grounded out to third to end the inning.
Bottom of the 6th Inning
Campbell grounded out to third base to start the bottom half. Rider flew out to right field for the second out. Lyon hit a two-out triple off the wall in right field. Roberts grounded out to second base to end the inning.
Top of the 7th Inning
Brian Clark came on to pitch for starter Ryan Bores to start the inning. Gushue drew a leadoff walk. Fontana singled to right center field to put runners on first and second. Tucker singled to right field to load the bases with no outs. Zunino hit an RBI single to center field to cut the lead to 5-3 with the bases still loaded. Johnson grounded into a double play, but a run scored to cut it to 5-4 with two outs and a runner on third.
Kent State put reliever Casey Wilson on the mound to face Pigott. Pigott lined out to second base to end the inning with Florida still trailing 5-4.
Bottom of the 7th Inning
Sutton flew out to center field to start the bottom half of the inning. Polen struck out for the second out. Bagoly hit a two-out double just over Pigott’s head in center field. Larson walked Miklos on four pitches, and O’Sullivan went to Austin Maddox out of the pen to face Toadvine. Toadvine popped up to second base to end the inning.
Top of the 8th Inning
Turgeon led off with a single to center field. Shafer flied out to left center field for the first out. Tobias grounded to second base and reached on a fielder’s choice as Kent State threw Turgeon out at second. Kent State brought Michael Clark on to pitch to Gushue. Gushue walked on five pitches to put runners on first and second with two outs for Fontana. Fontana lined out to shortstop to end the inning.
Bottom of the 8th Inning
Campbell flew out to center field for the first out. Rider flew out to center for the second out. Lyon grounded out to second base to end the inning.
Top of the 9th Inning
Fontana drew a leadoff walk on four pitches. After two balls to Zunino, Kent State pulled Clark from the mound for Josh Pierce to pitch the rest of the at-bat. Cody Dent pinch-hit for Brian Johnson and put down a sac bunt to move the runners to second and third with one out. Pigott was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out for Turgeon. Turgeon worked a 3-0 count, before Kent State worked it full at 3-2. On a check swing, the home plate ump called Ball 4, but an appeal to the third-base ump was successful and Turgeon was called for the strikeout for the second out. Shafer flew out to right to end the game.
South Carolina beats Florida 7-3, knocks Gators to loser’s bracket
Florida took an early 2-0 lead over South Carolina when Preston Tucker roped a two-run double over left fielder Tanner English’s head.
But left-handed ace Matt Roth settled in nicely for the Gamecocks after his team gave him a three-run lead by scoring five runs in the fifth inning. Florida pitcher Brian Johnson got into all kinds of trouble and gave up the lead on a three-run triple to designated hitter Erik Payne. Johnson gave up an RBI double seconds later, and his day was done shortly after.
Florida managed to pull back a run to cut South Carolina’s lead to 5-3 in the bottom half of the inning, but Florida relievers ran into trouble in the top of the ninth inning. A wild pitch allowed one run to score, and a throwing error at first helped the Gamecocks extend the lead to 7-3.
The Gators had an uncharacteristic three errors in the game, losing focus against a Gamecocks team that has had their number in Omaha.
GatorCountry.com Pregame Coverage – South Carolina
Playing without the pressure: It’s hard to think a team can play without pressure when they’re facing the two-time defending national champs, but that’s exactly what coach Kevin O’Sullivan says Florida will try to do against South Carolina. He believes if the Gators play without the pressure, they’ll be in a much better position to win and advance.
History in the making: Phillip Heilman breaks down all the latest teams to finish as a runner-up at the College World Series to see what the Gators are up against. His research shows history doesn’t favor Florida, but the Gators have already defied the odds simply by returning to Omaha.
Behind Enemy Lines: GatorCountry.com stops to take a quick look at the South Carolina Gamecocks, the two-time defending national champs riding a 21-game NCAA Tournament winning streak. Inside, we look at South Carolina’s best players and give a quick overview of what to expect from the Gamecocks.
Looking Ahead – College World Series Schedule
After losing to South Carolina 7-3 on Saturday, Florida will face an elimination game against Kent State at 5 p.m. ET on Monday on ESPN2. The loser will go home, while the winner will take on the loser of Arkansas and South Carolina on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Below is the schedule for the College World Series 2012, which will be updated as games are completed.
|College World Series 2012 Schedule|
|Friday, June 15|
|1||(2) UCLA 9 – 1 Stony Brook||5:00||ESPN2|
|2||(3) Florida State 3 – 4 (12th) Arizona||9:00||ESPN2|
|Saturday, June 16|
|3||Arkansas 8 – 1 Kent State||5:00||ESPN|
|4||(1) Florida 3 – 7 (8) South Carolina||9:00||ESPN|
|Sunday, June 17|
|5||Stony Brook 2 – 12 (3)Florida State||5:00||ESPN2|
|6||(2) UCLA 0 – 4 Arizona||9:00||ESPN2|
|Monday, June 18|
|7||Kent State vs. (1) Florida||5:00||ESPN2|
|8||Arkansas vs. (8) South Carolina||9:00||ESPN2|
|Tuesday, June 19|
|9||(3)Florida State vs. (2) UCLA||8:00||ESPN|
|Wednesday, June 20|
|10||Winner Game 7 vs. Loser Game 8||8:00||ESPN|
|Thursday, June 21|
|11||Winner Game 9 vs. Winner Game 6||5:00||ESPN2|
|12||Winner Game 10 vs. Winner Game 8||9:00||ESPN|
|Friday, June 22 (if necessary)|
|13||Winner Game 11 vs. Loser Game 11||5:00||ESPN2|
|14||Winner Game 12 vs. Loser Game 12||9:00||ESPN|
|College World Series 2012 – Championship Series|
|Sunday, June 24|
|1||TBD vs. TBD||8:00||ESPN2|
|Monday, June 25|
|2||TBD vs. TBD||8:00||ESPN|
|Tuesday, June 26 (if necessary)|
|3||TBD vs. TBD||8:00||ESPN|
All games televised live on ESPN3.