The Florida Gators (48-16) are just one game away from returning to Omaha, Nebraska and the College World Series after a huge Friday night win over the Florida State Seminoles (44-20) by a score of 13-5.
“Anybody that saw it saw what I did. It was an old fashioned switching,” Florida State manager Mike Martin said. “They beat us in every facet of the game.”
The Florida Gators hadn’t been on this stage in a while – Only two players on the current roster were on the last team to play in a Super Regional but they didn’t wither under the bright lights.
“You can’t make the stage bigger than the game,” junior outfielder Harrison Bader said before the game. “Although the stage is rather big in this instance.”
Starting pitcher Logan Shore retired three straight batters after losing a nine-pitch at bat and surrendering a leadoff hit to start the game. The Gators wasted no time getting after Florida State starter Boomer Biegalski.
Harrison Bader singled on a swinging bunt and advanced to second when Biegalski’s throw sailed wide at first. Following a Richie Martin pop out, Buddy Reed singled to give Florida runners on the corners and just one out. Josh Tobias singled to score Bader and JJ Schwarz singled, bringing home Reed. A foul out and a walk later, Mike Rivera came through with a two-out, two-RBI single to give the Gators a 4-0 advantage in the very first inning.
“It makes it a lot easier,” Shore said of getting to work with the early lead. “The offense is really coming through for me the last couple starts and I can’t credit them enough.”
Shore’s comfort with that lead was evident as he sat down six consecutive batters after the leadoff hit and the offense continued to pile on runs. Florida added two more runs in the third inning when a throwing error allowed both Pete Alonso and JJ Schwarz to score.
Schwarz launched his team-high 16th home run of the season deep to left-center field in the fifth inning to extend Florida’s lead to seven.
The Noles didn’t have any answers for Shore — who extended his scoreless streak in the NCAA Tournament to 13 innings.
“There wasn’t a whole lot of jumping around. I think they handled it great,” O’Sullivan said. “They were excited they won, obviously, but they were under control.”
With the dominating win on Friday, Florida is just one game away from the College World Series. A.J. Puk will take the mound tomorrow at five against a starter to be named.