OMAHA, Neb. — The Florida Gators players didn’t know it, but a loss to TCU on Sunday night would have been their fourth in a row at the College World Series.
That would have tied a record that you don’t want your name associated with.
“Last year was close, those two teams just grinded out victories,” Sunday night starter Alex Faedo said. “It just feels a lot better starting off 1-0.”
Getting to Omaha is great. Freshman Austin Langworthy called it “a dream” and admitted that he had nerves heading into his first game under the bright lights of Omaha. Langworthy was watching from his home in Williston, Florida when Florida went 0-2 last year in Omaha. He doesn’t know the feeling of getting to this stage and falling flat off it.
“Getting to Omaha last year was awesome. But going two and out was tough on us, the whole team, coaching staff, everything,” Faedo said. “But I think once we got back to Gainesville, didn’t take too much time to get to work, and we remember especially the juniors and seniors that were here freshman year, or my freshman year, when you win here, it’s just — it’s no feeling like it. So we’ve been putting a lot of effort to get back on the winning side of things over here.
In the past 36 years there have only three teams have lost their opening game and gone on to win the championship. Coming out of the loser’s bracket is just a daunting task. You’re playing extra games, straining your pitching staff, not to mention playing every out knowing it could be the last of your season.
“I think it’s definitely a little sigh of relief. And you don’t want to start out playing from the loser’s bracket and have to play — I think it would be four games to get into the finals,” Shortstop Dalton Guthrie said after beating TCU. “Getting the first one out of the way is the biggest one. It’s nice to be on the right side of it this time.
Starting 1-0 is nice. Starting 2-0 would be better.
23 of the last 27 College World Series Champions have started the College World Series off 2-0.
The Louisville Cardinals stand in the way of the Florida Gators starting 2-0 this year.
Florida Gators College World Series Notebook:
— With 11 strikeouts, RHP Alex Faedo has 146 strikeouts on the year, tied for the most nationally with Brendan McKay of Louisville.
— Faedo recorded 11 strikeouts, reaching double figures in that category for just the third time this season. Faedo was one strikeout shy of tying his season high (12) and two shy of tying his career high (13).
— Dalton Guthrie went 2-3, earning his 22nd multi-hit game of the season. He leads the team, followed by Nelson Maldonado and Christian Hicks (17).
— Florida’s 3-0 win Sunday was its second shutout in their CWS history. The last was against Florida State in 1991.